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take the gilt off the gingerbread



Within the Center Ages, gingerbread muffins have been adorned with a skinny layer of gold leaf. With out this casing, they have been thought of to be humble choices, typically being little greater than flavoured however stale bread.[1][2]



take the gilt off the gingerbread (third-person singular easy current takes the gilt off the gingerbread, current participle taking the gilt off the gingerbread, easy previous took the gilt off the gingerbread, previous participle taken the gilt off the gingerbread)

  1. (idiomatic) To remove probably the most enticing or interesting qualities of one thing; to destroy an phantasm.
    • 1837, Catherine Sinclair, chapter X, in Fashionable Society; or, The March of Mind. The Conclusion of Fashionable Accomplishments, London: James Nisbet and Co., []; Edinburgh: William Whyte and Co., [], OCLC 156191147, web page 176:

      Should you solely say the phrase, we will take the gilt off the gingerbread,—you guess what I imply,—however keep in mind that Sir Robert Walpole stated, ‘each man has his worth.
    • 1850 Could 11, “Provincial Correspondence. Music at Manchester.”, in The Musical World. A File of Music, the Drama, Literature, Tremendous Arts, Overseas Intelligence, &c. and Full File of the Theatres and the Live performance Room, quantity XXV, quantity 19, London: Printed and printed by W. S. Johnson, [], printed 1851, OCLC 751702494, web page 296, column 2:

      The previous gentleman too not often seems amongst us as a solo pianist, did we hear him oftener, we’re inclined to assume he would, to make use of a homely determine of speech, “Take the gilt off the gingerbread” of many individuals of a lot greater pretensions.

    • 1856, “John Slagge” [pseudonym], “Choices from the Blunderbore Correspondence. No. XIII.”, in Frederick Sinnett, editor, Melbourne Punch, quantity I, Melbourne, Vic.: Revealed on the workplace, 66, Collins Road, East, OCLC 867999448, web page 99, column 1:

      A seedy sort of males come to me that may’t get credit score with common first homes, and although I get superb costs out of ’em all, I’ve made some losses specifically instructions, that fairly took the gilt off the gingerbread.

    • 1866, Noel Jones, “Valentine’s Day”, in Footage of Society. Grave and Homosexual. [], London: Sampson Low, Son, and Marston, [], OCLC 1029673031, web page 153:

      [D]o we ever dream that in a sure gross quantity—say a billion—of younger girl lovers, there may be all the time a given quantity prepared to chop off their sweethearts’ heads and stick them in a flower-pot? Alas! how such a truth takes the gilt off the gingerbread!

    • 1871 February 24, “Quidnunc” [pseudonym], “Notes by Quidnunc”, in The Mechanics’ Journal, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette, quantity XXV (New Sequence; quantity XXXIV general), London: R. Smiles, Mechanics’ Journal Workplace, [], printed 1830, OCLC 183222409, web page 131, column 1:

      However the unfinished state of the constructing [the Royal Albert Hall] and its approaches a live performance is to be given within the corridor to-morrow (February 25) by the aristocratic musicians, who’ve earned such a deservedly excessive fame beneath their adopted designation of the “Wandering Minstrels.” This primary formal live performance, which, by the way in which, looks like “taking the gilt off the gingerbread,” is for the leisure of the workmen of Messrs. Lucas Brothers, the contractors.

    • 1909, Gilbert Ok[eith] Chesterton, “The Progressive”, in George Bernard Shaw, New York, N.Y.: John Lane Firm, OCLC 429358106, web page 70:

      He was one whose primary enterprise was, in his personal view, the pricking of illusions, the stripping away of disguises, and even the destruction of beliefs. He was a form of anti-confectioner whose entire enterprise it was to take the gilt off the gingerbread.

    • 1915 March, Jessie Pope, “The Circus Star”, in The Royal Journal, quantity XXXIII, quantity 197, London: C[yril] Arthur Pearson Ltd, [], OCLC 1123065091, web page 454, column 1:

      It’s all the time nice to return into your kingdom—although it takes the gilt off the gingerbread if there isn’t any one with whom to share it.

    • 1936, Dion Fortune, chapter XII, in The Goat Foot God, London: Williams and Norgate, OCLC 752972460; republished York Seaside, Me.: Samuel Weiser, 1999, →ISBN, pages 119–120:

      Based on the author, Monks Farm bore a sinister native fame, and was about as completely haunted as anyplace could possibly be, and in an effort to justify his thesis, he gave an account of its historical past. […] The dialogue that adopted the studying of the paper, and which was recorded in all its wordy fullness, considerably took the gilt off the gingerbread, nonetheless, for it was identified by individuals accustomed to native customs in addition to native superstitions, that the empty buildings of Monks Farm had lengthy been a favorite hang-out of lovers with out good thing about clergy.

    • 1958, F[rederik] C[arel] Gerretson, chapter 5, in Historical past of the Royal Dutch, quantity 4, 2nd version, Leiden: E[vert] J[an] Brill, OCLC 36855916, web page 99:

      [T]he competitors between the Commonplace and the Shell had taken the gilt off the gingerbread; after the primary imports by the Shell, the value of lamp oil had fallen from 11d. to 6¼d. per gallon, […]

    • 2014, Graham Fulbright, chapter VI, in The Man with a Charmed Life and His Half in Saving the Planet from WWIII, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire: Matador, →ISBN, web page 377:

      ‘My boss works to your crowd. If something takes the gilt off the gingerbread … I imply he is a creep. Can it’s true?’ / ‘Explains how they picked you.’



  1. ^ Gary Martin (1997–) , “Take the gilt off the gingerbread”, in The Phrase Finder, retrieved 26 February 2017; Gillian Riley (2001) , “Studying by Mouth: Edible Aids to Literacy”, in Harlan Walker, editor, Meals and the Reminiscence: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Meals and Cookery 2000, Blackawton, Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books, →ISBN, web page 195: “It has been steered that the expression ‘taking the gilt off the gingerbread’ originated within the follow of promoting off damaged or faulty items cheaply, presumably with out the ornament of gold leaf that was usually utilized to the superior sorts of gingerbread.”
  2. ^ Examine “to take the gilt off the gingerbread, phrase” in “gilt, n.2”, in OED On-line Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford College Press, December 2018; “take the gilt off the gingerbread, phrase” in Lexico,; Oxford College Press.

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