bull in a china shop

*bull in a china shop

Prov. a very clumsy creature in a delicate situation. (*Typically: as awkward as ~; like ~.) I never know what to say at a funeral. I feel like a bull in a china shop, trampling on feelings without even meaning to. Lester felt like a bull in a china shop; reaching for an orange, he made several elaborate pyramids of fruit tumble down.
See also: bull, china, shop

bull in a china shop

An extremely clumsy person, as in Her living room, with its delicate furniture and knickknacks, made him feel like a bull in a china shop . The precise origin for this term has been lost; it was first recorded in Frederick Marryat's novel, Jacob Faithful (1834).
See also: bull, china, shop

bull in a china shop

Clumsily destructive. An early written example of the expression appeared in Frederick Marryat's 1834 novel, Jacob Faithful , although the image of a bull wrecking havoc as he wandered among tables and shelves of fine porcelain can be traced a century earlier. The expression can also be found in several European languages, although the animal in question is an elephant. In 1940, an American press agent led a bull through a New York City china shop as a publicity stunt. The bull didn't break anything, but a bystander trying to avoid the bull backed into a table and caused the damage.
See also: bull, china, shop
References in classic literature ?
Like a bull in a china shop," he suggested, and won a smile.
His behavior in our drawing-room reminded me of a careful bull in a china shop.
Of course, we condemn violence from whichever side it comes, but we must not behave like a bull in a china shop.
With the same passion and head-of-steam he had as a short-yardage tailback on USC's football team from 1997 to 2000, Papadakis has busted through the local sports-talk scene more like someone hopped on Red Bull in a china shop - wide-eyed, volume-challenged and, from what we've seen so far in just more than two years flying solo, willing to try just about anything.
THIS week's reports about a bull in a china shop in Lancaster said that the rampaging beast had "accidentally escaped from a nearby market," but that's not true.
Over the past few months, inspectors at the ATPC have not only released a bull in a china shop, they've also let a cat out of a bag, put a pig in a poke, and set another cat among the pigeons, while several earnest men in white coats watched carefully and scribbled down their findings on to a clipboard.
Last night, an eye-witness said: "It was lucky he didn't keep going into Caithness Glass because that would have been like the classic bull in a china shop.
Now Herefordshire is being hit by feverish buying as locals desperately search for the last bull in a china shop.