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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

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 classic literature ?
repeated the curate, who, about as strong as D'Artagnan with respect to Latin, carefully watched the Jesuit in order to keep step with him, and repeated his words like an echo.
D'Artagnan began to be tired, and so did the curate.
Exordium," repeated the curate, for the sake of saying something.
Certainly," replied the Jesuit, a little put out, while the curate, greatly delighted, turned upon D'Artagnan a look full of gratitude.
Maillard," began the curate, "this gentleman and I have come to talk with you a little.
Yes," continued the curate, apparently accustomed to this tone, "yes, we wish to know your opinion of the events of to-day and what you have heard said by people going in and out of the church.
Consider, Maillard," said the curate, "that I have recommended you to this gentleman, who is a powerful lord, and that I have made myself responsible for you.
he will let you into the rooms in his tower," said the curate.
You can stay, my dear vicar," said the curate to Gaudron; "you know I am engaged to dine with the curate of Saint-Roch, who, by the bye, is to bury Monsieur de la Billardiere to-morrow.
Neither the vestry nor the curate were rich enough to decorate the altar.
When I think of what you have now done for his dear church, I feel sure he will not forget you in his prayers; more than that, he is dining at this moment with the coadjutor at the house of the curate of Saint-Roch.
The curate followed the cobbler down a short winding stair which brought them out at an entrance rather higher than the street.
A shudder of superstition went through the slight figure of the curate.
Madly, in order to make conversation, the curate said to the Catholic priest:
And with that he turned his back and stumped up the steps after the curate.