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Mare’s Nest

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To find a mare’s nest is to make what you suppose to be a great discovery, but which turns out to be all moonshine.

“Why dost thou laugh?

What mare’s nest hast thou found?”


Beaumont and Fletcher: Bonduca, v. 2.


“Are we to believe that the governor, executive council, the officers, and merchants have been finding mare’s nests only?”—The Times.

N.B. In some parts of Scotland they use instead a skate’s nest. In Gloucestershire a long-winded tale is called a Horse-nest. In Cornwall they say You have found a wee’s nest, and are laughing over the eggs. In Devon, nonsense is called a blind mare’s nest. Holinshed calls a gallows a foul’s nest (iii.). In French the corresponding phrase is Nid de lapin; Nid dʹune souris dans lʹoreille dʹun chat.” (See Chat.)

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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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Marchpane
Marcionites
Marck (William de la)
Marcley Hill (Herefordshire)
Marcos de Obregon
Marcosians
Mardi Gras
Mardle
Mardonius (Captain)
Mare
Mare’s Nest
Mareotic Luxury
Marfisa
Marforio
Margan Monastery (Register of)
Margaret
Margaret (St.)
Margaret
Margaret or Marguerite (petite)
Margarine Substitute (A)
Margate (Kent)

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Chat
Gape (g hard)
Nightmare (A)