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!
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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.
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(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
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
The electorate should have more powers, to sack ministers and MPs who don't cut the mustard.
Truth be told, Davina was proving she can cut the mustard now she's hosting new Sky HD show Got To Dance tonight at 6pm on Sky1.
But Kiefer's dad Donald Sutherland can still cut the mustard as a charismatic TV star, as he heads the cast of the new series Dirty Sexy Money (Channel 4, Friday), which surely wins the prize for best title of the week.
His attempt to impress us with a raft of unsubstantiated general statistics about unemployment etc will not cut the mustard with the politically aware.
Nothing saps party morale more than a failure to cut the mustard at Prime Minister's Questions.
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.
Many of the other makers' models have a plastic cheapness about the interiors which definitely does not cut the mustard.
ACCORDING to initial estimates, about two-thirds of this year's entering freshmen at CSUN will need remedial instruction in English and/or math if they expect to cut the mustard.
The standard hawker cry, "get yer hot dog," won't be enough to get past the infield for first-place Detroit Tigers fans, nor will it cut the mustard for hawking premium Hebrew National franks, which are made from 100-percent, kosher-quality beef with no fillers.
In his absence - and that of Red Rose midfield partner Manu Tuilagi - Billy Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins failed to cut the mustard.
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.
Fans are a fickle bunch, and if you don't cut the mustard you could find your management career falling down the league pyramid faster than Wayne Rooney's chances of being top scorer at next year's Euro 2012 tournament.
STILL worried that the Magpies won't cut the mustard in the Premier League this season?
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