a curate's egg


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curate's egg

Something that is partly good and partly bad. Taken from a British cartoon about a curate, or priest, who was given a bad egg but focused on the egg's good characteristics as he did not want to offend the person who gave it to him. Primarily heard in UK. Our vacation was a bit of a curate's egg; the first few days were sunny, but the rest of the week was ruined by the heavy rain and flooding.
See also: egg

a curate's egg

BRITISH
If you describe something as a curate's egg, you think that parts of it are good and parts of it are bad. His collection of duets with famous friends is something of a curate's egg. It's a real curate's egg of a production; intermittently brilliant in the first half, but a dreadful disappointment in the second. Note: A curate is a clergyman in the Church of England who helps the vicar or rector of a parish. A well-known Victorian cartoon published in the British magazine `Punch' shows a curate having breakfast with a senior clergyman. The curate has been given a bad egg but he is anxious not to offend anyone, so he says that it is `good in parts'.
See also: egg

a curate's egg

something that is partly good and partly bad.
This expression stems from a Punch cartoon produced in 1895 , showing a meek curate breakfasting with his bishop. bishop: I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones . curate: Oh no, my Lord, I assure you! Parts of it are excellent!
See also: egg

the/a ˌcurate’s ˈegg

(British English) something that has some good things and some bad things about it: ‘Is it an interesting book?’ ‘It’s a bit of a curate’s egg, good in parts. The dialogue’s often quite amusing.’This idiom comes from a story in the magazine Punch. A polite curate (= an assistant to a priest) is given a bad egg while eating in the house of a very senior priest. When asked if he likes the egg, he replies that ‘parts of it are excellent’.
See also: egg
References in periodicals archive ?
This is a throwback to the days of TW3 and satirical sketches and like most sketch shows is a bit of a curate's egg.
But what should be a joyous celebration of so many things - the 50th anniversary of the first Barber Opera (Handel's Xerxes under the wise and empowering baton of Anthony Lewis), the tercentenary of this opera and the fact that this is the first such enterprise since the successful refurbishment of this little jewel of a theatre - turns out to be very much of a curate's egg.
Perhaps inevitably, the overall effect was that of a curate's egg, but Cook's carefully choreographed homage to British eccentricity had the edge on both the Dutch and the Swiss.
I'm probably more aligned to Lucifer and the dark side" Rolling Stone Keith Richards "All in all, the agreement is a curate's egg, but if I were the curate I think I would leave a good deal of it on the plate" Tory peer Lord Tebbit on the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition "We will end the war on motorists" Transport Secretary Philip Hammond "My ultimate fashion advice is that it's a proven fact that if you don't wear underwear it's more ventilation and that's maybe healthier" Sex And The City star Kim Cattrall "Be nice - and don't show your bum" What Jerry Hall told her daughter, model Lizzie Jagger
The HIP was already something of a curate's egg with the Home Condition Report providing the core element.
So this volume is something of a curate's egg, as most such books are: good in parts, not so in others.