cut the mustard


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cut the mustard

1. slang To work or operate in a satisfactory manner. The origin of this phrase is debated. I need a new worker from the temp agency—the one you sent over keeps mixing up orders and just isn't cutting the mustard. This toaster doesn't cut the mustard anymore. No matter what setting you choose, your toast comes out charred!
2. slang To work or act with energy and enthusiasm, as is characteristic of the young. That guy looks like he's 110 years old—there's no way he'll be able to cut the mustard stocking shelves all day!
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cut the mustard

Perform satisfactorily, as in We need a better catcher; this one just doesn't cut the mustard. The origin of this expression is disputed. Some believe it alludes to mustard in the sense of the best or main attraction (owing to its spicing up food), whereas others believe it is a corruption of pass muster. Still others hold that it concerns the preparation of mustard, which involves adding vinegar to mustard seed to "cut" (reduce) its bitterness. The expression is often in negative form, as in the example. [Slang; c. 1900]
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cut the mustard

come up to expectations; meet the required standard. informal
Mustard appears in early 20th-century US slang with the general meaning of ‘the best of anything’.
1998 New Scientist But if you want to go beyond this into hypersonic flight…they just don't cut the mustard.
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(not) cut the ˈmustard

(not) be as good as expected or required: I didn’t cut the mustard as a hockey player. Mustard in this expression may possibly refer to an old-fashioned slang word used in American English, meaning ‘the best of anything’.
See also: cut, mustard

cut the mustard

verb
See also: cut, mustard

cut the mustard

1. tv. to be able to do something requiring youth or vigor. (Usually in the expression too old to cut the mustard.) Do you really think he can cut the mustard?
2. Go to cut the cheese.
See also: cut, mustard

cut the mustard

To perform up to expectations or to a required standard.
See also: cut, mustard
References in periodicals archive ?
We checked it out this week and it certainly does cut the mustard.
SOCCER-mad youngsters can really cut the mustard on the pitch after the future of their new team was secured by a fast food giant.
Prior to his Wednesday job in League One, Megson had proved he could cut the mustard at Premier League level at both Bolton and West Brom.
Ian, left, has his work cut out trying to seduce Mandy and apparently a fancy scarf just won't cut the mustard.
EASTENDERS (BBC ONE) Ian has his work cut out in trying to seduce Mandy and apparently a fancy scarf just won't cut the mustard.
It's a chance, more than anything else, to see if the so-called experts can cut the mustard in the real world.
After all, where else would he be able to meet up with dozens of failed Irish soccer stars who couldn't cut the mustard south of the border?
A dark, dark cloud hangs over Chateau Lockley after yet another letter from the school informing us the 15 year-old is now failing to cut the mustard in IT and science.
His father Anthony said: "The funny thing is there is a lot said about young drivers not being able to cut the mustard.
Many of the other makers' models have a plastic cheapness about the interiors which definitely does not cut the mustard.
The American star has been upgraded in status under the new criteria for team building - and he is confident he can cut the mustard.
Other sandwiches did not cut the mustard with the taste testers, with bread as hard as toast, "plastic-tasting" cheese and "sloppy" tuna among the criticisms of other shop-bought sandwiches.
The standard hawker cry "get yer hot dog" won't be enough to get past the infield for first-place Detroit Tigers' fans, nor will it cut the mustard for hawking premium Hebrew National franks, which are made from 100 percent kosher quality beef with no fillers.
Where Initiative doesn't quite cut the mustard is in the all-too-standard storytelling and slightly off-kilter sound effects that don't match the meat that Hulk puts behind his punches.
Fans are a fickle bunch, and if you don't cut the mustard you could find your management career falling down the league pyramid faster than Wayne Rooney's chances of being top scorer at next year's Euro 2012 tournament.
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