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Cock and Bull Story

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A corruption of a concocted and bully story. The catch-pennies hawked about the streets are still called cocksi.e. concocted things. Bully is the Danish bullen (exaggerated), our bull-rush (an exaggerated rush), bull-frog, etc.

Another etymology may be suggested The idol Nergal was the most common idol of the ancient Phœnicians, Indians, and Persians, and Nergal means a dunghill cock. The Egyptian bull is equally notorious under the name of Osiʹris. A cock-and-bull story may therefore mean a myth, in reference to the mythological fables of Nergal and Osiris.

2

The French equivalents are faire un coq à lʹâne and un conie de ma mère lʹoie (a mother goose tale).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Cobbler
Cobbler Poet (The)
Cobbler’s Punch
Cobbler’s Toast
Cobham
Cob-nut
Coburgs
Cobweb
Cock
Cock and Bottle
Cock and Bull Story
Cock and Pie (By)
Cock of Hay (A)
Cock of the North
Cock of the Walk
Cock-a-hoop
Cock apace
Cockboat
Cock-crow
Cock-eye
Cock-fighting