chestnut

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Related to Chestnuts: Horse chestnuts

pull (one's) chestnuts out of the fire

To do a difficult, and often dangerous, task for someone else's benefit. David really pulled my chestnuts out of the fire that time he saved me from drowning. I can't believe my car broke down on this desolate road late at night—thank you so much for pulling my chestnuts out of the fire and picking me up!
See also: chestnut, fire, of, out, pull

an old chestnut

  (informal)
a subject, idea, or joke which has been discussed or repeated so many times that it is not interesting or funny any more I wondered whether there might, after all, be some truth in the old chestnut that one's school days are the happiest of one's life. Play allows us to rediscover the child in ourselves - that old chestnut.
See also: chestnut, old

old chestnut

A stale joke, story, or saying, as in Dad keeps on telling that old chestnut about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb . This expression comes from William Dimond's play, The Broken Sword (1816), in which one character keeps repeating the same stories, one of them about a cork tree, and is interrupted each time by another character who says "Chestnut, you mean . . . I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times and I am sure it was a chestnut."
See also: chestnut, old
References in classic literature ?
These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily.
With the prompt French instinct for the politics of the street, the man with the black moustache had already run across to a corner of the cafe, sprung on one of the tables, and seizing a branch of chestnut to steady himself, shouted as Camille Desmoulins once shouted when he scattered the oak-leaves among the populace.
Keep yourself warm on your own chestnuts," he said earnestly.
Walking straight up from the station, she crossed the village green and entered the long chestnut avenue that connects it with the church.
This was a tall chestnut mare, with a long handsome neck.
At the bottom was a sunk fence; its sole separation from lonely fields: a winding walk, bordered with laurels and terminating in a giant horse- chestnut, circled at the base by a seat, led down to the fence.
I had as yet failed to catch any sight of Rosalind; so I sat alone, and so far as I had any thoughts or feelings, beyond a consciousness of heavenly harmony with my surroundings, they were for that haunting unknown face with the violet eyes and the heavy chestnut hair.
I shall drive there in my carriage at two o'clock in the afternoon for three successive days; the first day it will be drawn by four white, the second by four chestnut, and the last by four black horses; but if you fail to keep awake and I find you sleeping, I shall not be set free.
Behind the chapel extended, surrounded by two high hedges of hazel, elder and white thorn, and a deep ditch, the little inclosure - uncultivated, though gay in its sterility; because the mosses there grew thick, wild heliotrope and ravenelles there mingled perfumes, while from beneath an ancient chestnut issued a crystal spring, a prisoner in its marble cistern, and on the thyme all around alighted thousands of bees from the neighboring plants, whilst chaffinches and redthroats sang cheerfully among the flower-spangled hedges.
The Emperor, surrounded by his suite of officers and courtiers, was riding a bobtailed chestnut mare, a different one from that which he had ridden at the review, and bending to one side he gracefully held a gold lorgnette to his eyes and looked at a soldier who lay prone, with blood on his uncovered head.
A log of chestnut was smouldering in a heap of ashes.
Inside the gate leaning out from her saddle and just closing it, was a young woman on a chestnut sorrel.
She kept on beside the shaggy man, who whistled cheerful tunes to beguile the journey, until by and by they followed a turn in the road and saw before them a big chestnut tree making a shady spot over the highway.
His long silky hair, of a bright and beautiful chestnut color, fell over shoulders that were the perfection of strength and grace.
Girls, sometimes I feel as if those exams meant everything, but when I look at the big buds swelling on those chestnut trees and the misty blue air at the end of the streets they don't seem half so important.