mule

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shoe (one's) mule

To steal or misappropriate funds. The phrase refers to blacksmiths who did not shoe one's animal even after accepting payment. I entrusted him with a lot of money, so I'm going to be livid if I find out that he's trying to shoe my mule.
See also: mule, shoe

be (as) stubborn as a mule

To be very devoted to a particular opinion or course of action, especially when faced with opposition. My toddler is as stubborn as a mule and has a tantrum every night at bedtime because he doesn't want to stop playing. You'll never get Rich to change his opinion—he's stubborn as a mule.
See also: mule, stubborn

40 acres and a mule

1. Something given by the government. The phrase refers to a promise made during the Civil War by Union general William T. Sherman that freed slaves would receive 40 acres of land and a mule. After the war, though, that land was given back to its original owners. I'm doing just fine on my own—I don't need 40 acres and a mule from the president.
2. A promise or assurance that proves to be false. I think he's just tempting us with that offer, and it'll turn out to be 40 acres and a mule.
See also: 40, acre, and, mule

(as) stubborn as a mule

Extremely reluctant or unwilling to change a particular opinion, behavior, or course of action, especially when faced with opposition. My toddler is as stubborn as a mule, and he'll throw a tantrum any time he doesn't get what he wants. You'll never get Rich to change his opinion—he's stubborn as a mule.
See also: mule, stubborn

kick like a mule

 and kick like a steer
to kick very hard. They say that ostriches will kick like a mule if you bother them. Stay away from the back end of Tom's horse. It will kick like a steer when a stranger comes up.
See also: kick, like, mule

*stubborn as a mule

 and *obstinate as a mule
Cliché very stubborn. (*Also: as ~.) I tried to convince Jake to go to the doctor, but he's as stubborn as a mule. For four years, Henry pestered his parents to let him learn the trumpet. They tried to talk him into some other, quieter instrument, but he was stubborn as a mule, and now he has a trumpet.
See also: mule, stubborn

work like a beaver

 and work like a mule; work like a horse; work like a slave
Fig. to work very hard. She has an important deadline coming up, so she's been working like a beaver. You need a vacation. You work like a slave in that kitchen. I'm too old to work like a horse. I'd prefer to relax more.
See also: beaver, like, work

stubborn as a mule

Extremely obstinate, as in He's stubborn as a mule about wearing a suit and tie. This simile evokes the proverbial stubbornness of mules, whose use as draft animals was once so common that the reputation for obstinacy can hardly be as warranted as the term indicates. [Early 1800s]
See also: mule, stubborn

work like a beaver

Also, work like a dog or horse or Trojan . Work very energetically and hard, as in She worked like a beaver to clean out all the closets, or I've been working like a dog weeding the garden, or He's very strong and works like a horse. The first of these similes is the oldest, first recorded in 1741; the variants date from the second half of the 1800s. Also see work one's fingers to the bone.
See also: beaver, like, work

stubborn as a mule

If someone is as stubborn as a mule, they are determined to do what they want and very unwilling to change their mind. For all his pleasant manner, the Texan was stubborn as a mule, and he didn't like being pushed. Old Greg is also stubborn as a mule. He won't say anything — he'll just carry on doing what he planned. Note: This expression is usually used to show disapproval.
See also: mule, stubborn

work like a beaver

work steadily and industriously. informal
The beaver is referred to here because of the industriousness with which it constructs the dams necessary for its aquatic dwellings. The image is similarly conjured up by the phrase beaver away meaning ‘work hard’.
See also: beaver, like, work

stubborn as a mule

extremely stubborn. informal
See also: mule, stubborn

(as) ˌstubborn as a ˈmule

(often disapproving) very determined not to change your opinion or attitude; obstinate: If you tell her what to do, she won’t do it because she’s as stubborn as a mule. Why not just suggest it to her?
See also: mule, stubborn

mule

n. someone who delivers or smuggles drugs for a drug dealer. (Drugs.) The jerks use a twelve-year-old kid for a mule!

Forty acres and a mule

A a government handout; a broken promise. As Union general William T. Sherman marched through Georgia and other parts of the confederacy during the Civil War, he promised freed slaves the gift of forty acres of South Carolina and Georgia farmland and an army mule with which to work the soil. Following the war, however, President Johnson rescinded Sherman's order, and the appropriated land was restored to its owners. While most citizens adopted the phrase as a metaphor for either any form of government handout (or a trifling salary or bonus from their employer), African-Americans who remembered the expression's history used it as a rueful reminder of a offer that was reneged upon.
See also: acre, and, forty, mule
References in classic literature ?
I'm the breech-piece mule of number two gun of the First Screw Battery," said the mule, "and the other's one of your friends.
Sit down," said the mule, "or you'll snap your long stick-legs between the guns.
Priam sprang from his chariot to the ground, leaving Idaeus where he was, in charge of the mules and horses.
These unyoked the horses and mules, and bade Priam's herald and attendant be seated within the house.
My attention was called to it, by observing the footsteps of the mules stained a pale red, as if their hoofs had been slightly bloody.
These frozen masses, during the process of thawing, had in some parts been converted into pinnacles or columns, [4] which, as they were high and close together, made it difficult for the cargo mules to pass.
So saying she lashed the mules with her whip and they left the river.
That he had observed, from his station in the rear, that she sat her mule as if she were exhausted.
Every lady must doubtless be incommoded by having to do with that proverbially unaccommodating animal, the mule.
As my fate has so willed it," said the bachelor, "I entreat you, sir knight-errant, whose errand has been such an evil one for me, to help me to get from under this mule that holds one of my legs caught between the stirrup and the saddle.
He at once called to Sancho, who, however, had no mind to come, as he was just then engaged in unloading a sumpter mule, well laden with provender, which these worthy gentlemen had brought with them.
Ladies and gentlemen," he addressed the sawdust emptiness before him as if it were a packed audience, "this is Barney Barnato, the biggest joker of a mule ever born.
one minute, the sixtieth part of an hour, to be precise, sixty seconds, to stick on the back of an affectionate josher mule like Barney.
They had then waylaid the present detachment, and were actually housed in perfect silence within their fort, when the mule of the trapper made such a dead point.
If you do not go, sir," said De Guiche, "remember that we have two steeds able to catch your mule and the power of having you seized wherever you may be; and then I swear your trial will be summary; one can always find a tree and a cord.