fair to middling

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fair to middling

Neither good nor bad; mediocre; lukewarm. Despite reviews that were fair to middling, the film was a huge box-office success. A: "How was your time in France?" B: "Eh, fair to middling. I expected it to be a lot better, to be honest."
See also: fair

fair to middlin'

Rur. mediocre; not bad but not good. (Middling means 'of average quality.') Tom: How are you feeling today? Bill: Fair to middlin'. My sewing is excellent, but my cooking is only fair to middlin'.
See also: fair

fair to middling

Mediocre, pretty good, so-so, as in I asked them how they liked their new home and John answered, "Fair to middling. This phrase, often a reply to an inquiry about one's health, business, or the like, is redundant, since fair and middling both mean "moderately good." [Mid-1800s] Also see can't complain.
See also: fair

fair to middling

So-so, moderately good, a reply to “How are you?” Since “fair” and “middling” here mean the same thing—that is, pretty good or mediocre—the expression is basically jocular. It originated in the mid-nineteenth century, probably in America. An early citation in the OED is from Artemus Ward’s His Travels (“The men are fair to middling,” 1865). See also can't complain.
See also: fair