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!
3. rude slang To fart. I can't believe you cut the mustard in the car. Now we have to smell it all the way home!
See also: cut, mustard

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]
See also: cut, mustard

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.
See also: cut, mustard

(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

cut the mustard, to

To do a good job; to come up to a required standard; to succeed. It often is put negatively, as someone cannot cut the mustard, that is, is not performing adequately. The term is American slang, and its origin is disputed. According to one authority, “mustard” used to signify the best or main attraction in a show, probably because this condiment enhances the flavor of other foods. It was this sense that O. Henry apparently intended when he wrote, “I’m not headlined in the bills, but I’m the mustard in the salad dressing, just the same” (Cabbages and Kings), and later (1904), “I . . . found a proposition that exactly cut the mustard.” Another etymologist believes it comes from the military term, to pass muster. A third theory is that it comes from the preparation of the condiment, which involves adding vinegar to ground-up mustard seed; the vinegar is said to “cut” the bitter taste.
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References in periodicals archive ?
This figure fails to point out that of the tens of thousands that pick up the mic few cut the mustard.
The FTSE committee meets officially this afternoon to confirm which companies no longer cut the mustard for a place in the major index.
What the tree-huggers need to understand is that a pair of shoes made out of non-genetically modified, additives and pesticides-free barley woven by third world children and bought at a trade fair just isn't going to cut the mustard under six inches of snow.
Nominated for Best Track, Best Live Act, Best Solo Artist, and Best Act In The World Today, Ed's third album just didn't seem to cut the mustard when it came to that all important category.
Camra would be better off facing the reality that many of the pubs that shut simply do not cut the mustard and are not long mourned.
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.
The former midfielder showed he could still cut the mustard as he met Year 6 pupils from Sacred Heart RC Primary School at Tesco's Aston Lane branch in Aston.
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.
A TV source said: "Gordon just doesn't cut the mustard anymore."
Right now she's a cheap imitation of Angie - it's time for Miss Fox to start proving she can cut the mustard!
Psychologist Anne Ellis also claimed that the Prime Minister's personality "just does not cut the mustard in popularity stakes", warning he may lose the next election to a "much more pleasant personality".
His attempt to impress us with a raft of unsubstantiated general statistics about unemployment etc will not cut the mustard with the politically aware.
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.
However, Richards is convinced that was not the real Monet's Garden and the nine-year-old returned home dehydrated, leaving connections clinging to the hope that he can still cut the mustard at the top level.
Here's a guy that didn't cut the mustard at Spurs and at times last season couldn't even get into a rock bottom Leicester side.
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