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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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