jib

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cut of (one's) jib

A person's general appearance, manner, mien, style, demeanor, or personality. A reference to the jib sails of a boat (which denoted a ship's allegiance, and therefore potential hostility), it is usually used in the phrase "like the cut of one's jib." I like the cut of your jib—you've got a brazenness in business that's pretty rare these days. I'm not sure why I don't get along with Sarah. I just don't like the cut of her jib.
See also: cut, jib, of

cut of one's jib

One's general appearance or personality, as in I don't like the cut of Ben's jib. In the 17th century the shape of the jib sail often identified a vessel's nationality, and hence whether it was hostile or friendly. The term was being used figuratively by the early 1800s, often to express like or dislike for someone.
See also: cut, jib, of