(old) chestnut

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(old) chestnut

A topic, saying, or joke that has been repeated so much that it has become boring or irksome. Whether there's truth in it or not, I can't stand that old chestnut "follow your heart."
See also: chestnut
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

an old chestnut

or

a hoary old chestnut

mainly BRITISH
COMMON If you describe something that is said or written as an old chestnut or a hoary old chestnut, you mean that it has been repeated so often that it is no longer interesting. Finally, how do you answer that old interview chestnut: `Why should I hire you?' The film is based on the hoary old chestnut of good twin/bad twin, separated at birth, final fatal meeting — you get the idea.
See also: chestnut, old
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

an old chestnut

a joke, story, or subject that has become tedious and boring as a result of its age and constant repetition.
The most likely source for this sense of chestnut is in the following exchange between two characters, Zavior and Pablo, in William Dimond 's play Broken Sword ( 1816 ): ZAVIOR…When suddenly from the thick boughs of a cork tree— PABLO. (Jumping up) A chesnut, Captain, a chesnut…Captain, this is the twenty-seventh time I have heard you relate this story, and you invariably said, a chesnut, until now.
See also: chestnut, old
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

old chestnut

A stale joke, anecdote, or adage. This term has a specific source, the play The Broken Sword by William Dimond, first produced in 1816. The principal character, a Captain Xavier, constantly repeats the same stories, one of which involves a cork tree. Pablo, another character, interrupts, saying, “Chestnut, you mean, captain. I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times, and I am sure it was a chestnut.” The play has long since been forgotten, but the term survives, and has itself become an old chestnut.
See also: chestnut, old
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
And, indeed, as he spoke, the first few flakes, foreseen by the man of chestnuts, began to drift across the darkening windowpane.
The chestnut seller, turning up the collar of his coat, told him he should probably be moving shortly, as he thought it was going to snow.
The chestnut seller, both before and after receiving a sovereign, swore stubbornly that he had watched the door and seen no visitor enter.
They descended, passing the man with the pail, who again asseverated that he had let no intruder pass, down to the commissionaire and the hovering chestnut man, who rigidly reasserted their own watchfulness.
Quest as he would through the Piedmont hills and along the many-gated back-road to Berkeley, Daylight saw nothing of Dede Mason and her chestnut sorrel.
we'll talk over the voyage and the parting quietly half-an-hour or so, while the stars enter into their shining life up in heaven yonder: here is the chestnut tree: here is the bench at its old roots.
A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel-walk, and trembled through the boughs of the chestnut: it wandered away--away--to an indefinite distance--it died.
and as if scorning to say more to the frightened and shamefaced count, he lashed the heaving flanks of his sweating chestnut gelding with all the anger the count had aroused and flew off after the hounds.
As the raven drove along her four chestnut horses, she said sorrowfully to herself, 'I know he has fallen asleep.' She went as before to look for him, but he slept, and it was impossible to awaken him.
He was really beautiful, with the contentment of his face, straight as the trunk of a chestnut, his old velvet coat thrown back, his shirt of coarse cloth open at the breast, so that one saw the play of the ribs.
They barely brushed my waist, these hybrid American chestnuts, but they were fantastic, almost pulsing with vivid green, with strong bark and lithe limbs.
We have all heard about chestnuts roasting on an open fire in the classic Christmas song, but exactly what happened to the American chestnut?
Chestnut, squash and apple soup (for 10) INGREDIENTS: 1.5kg/3lb 5oz butternut squash, seeds removed, cut into wedges; 5tbsp olive oil; 1 onion, chopped; 1 garlic clove, finely chopped; 2 potatoes, cubed; 1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored, chopped; 2 litres/31/2 pints chicken or vegetable stock; 1 sprig fresh thyme; 2 bay leaves; 500g/1lb 2oz chestnuts, roasted and peeled, plus extra, sliced, to serve; 400g/14oz ready-made chestnut puree; salt and black pepper.
13 ( ANI ): Demand for chestnuts has increased manifold here with the onset of winter season, as health experts recommend the same for their nutritive value.