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Stewing in their own Gravy


Especially applied to a besieged city. The besiegers may leave the hostile city to suffer from want of food, loss of commerce, confinement, and so on. The phrase is very old, borrowed perhaps from the Bible, “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.” Chaucer says—


“In his own gress I made him frie,

For anger and for verry jalousie.”

Prologue to the Wife of Bathes Tale.

We are told that the Russian ambassador, when Louis Philippe fortified Paris, remarked, if ever again Paris is in insurrection, it “can be made to stew in its own gravy (jus)”; and Bismarck, at the siege of Paris, in 1871, said, the Germans intend to leave the city “to seethe in its own milk.”—See Snell: Chronicles of Twyford, p. 295.

“He relieved us out of our purgatory … after we had been stewing in our own gravy.”—The London Spy, 1716.

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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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Stentorophonic Voice
Stepfather and Father-in-law
Stephen’s Bread (St.)
Stephens (Joanna)
Stepney Papers
Sterling Money
Sternhold (Thomas)
Sterry (in Hudibras)
Stewing in their own Gravy
Stigmites, or St. Stephen’s Stones
Stiletto of the Storm (The)
Still Sow
Still Waters Run Deep