No longer a spring chicken
Jul 14, 2014 | 1184 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHEN SOMEONE speaks of them self as being “no longer a spring chicken” it is a way of saying, “I am no longer young, spry and energetic!” This figurative use of the expression goes back to at least 1711 when it was published by Steele in the “Spectator,” as: “You ought to consider you are now past a chicken; this Humour, which was well enough in a Girl, is insufferable in one of your Motherly Character” “No spring chicken” was first recorded in America in 1906. (From the “Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins” by Robert Hendrikson, Facts on File, New York, 1997).

The figurative use of the phrase was derived from the literal meaning of a young chicken, having tender meat. Restaurants of the past offered a young chicken, having tender meat, as spring chicken. Also, in observing a young spring chicken you are aware of its high level of energy as it runs around in a playful manner.

In the past middle-aged and older women often spoke of them self as: “I’m no spring chicken,” meaning they were no longer young, in good health and energetic.

Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)
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