mutton dressed as lamb

Also found in: Acronyms.

mutton dressed (up) as lamb

A disparaging term for an older woman who tries unsuccessfully to look much younger or finds herself attractive in the style of younger women. Primarily heard in UK. I don't know what she's thinking wearing a dress like that. She looks like mutton dressed as lamb!
See also: dress, lamb, mutton
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

mutton dressed as lamb


mutton dressed up as lamb

If you describe a middle-aged or old woman as mutton dressed as lamb or mutton dressed up as lamb, you mean she dresses in a style which is suitable only for a younger woman. I'm always careful to avoid looking like mutton dressed as lamb. Note: Mutton is the meat of an adult sheep, and lamb is the meat of a young sheep, as well as being the name of the animal itself.
See also: dress, lamb, mutton
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

mutton dressed as lamb

a middle-aged or old woman dressed in a style suitable for a much younger woman. British informal
Mutton occurs in various derogatory contexts relating to women. It has been used as a slang term for prostitutes from the early 16th century, for example, while the phrase hawk your mutton means ‘flaunt your sexual attractiveness’ or (of a prostitute) ‘solicit for clients’.
1988 Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses Mutton dressed as lamb, fifty plus and batting her eyelashes like an eighteen-year-old.
See also: dress, lamb, mutton
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
TV host Carol said: "I am constantly aware of not being mutton dressed as lamb. In my head I'm still 20 but I know I'm not.
Are these women mutton dressed as lamb or are they right to flaunt it if they have it?
I don't want to be accused of being mutton dressed as lamb. How can I do it without looking silly?
This is certainly not the case for me and I pride myself on being stylish, even though I may not beat the height of fashion (after all, nobody likes to see mutton dressed as lamb).
With so many highly fashionable garments included in the autumn/winter collection, will the upper end of the Marks and Spencer's customer age bracket be deterred by the age old fear of being 'mutton dressed as lamb'?
One, the thought that, at 42, I'll slip into the fashion category marked 'mutton dressed as lamb' and two, the fact that it will hurt.
I've always looked after myself and dress fashionably but now I'm wondering if I'm mutton dressed as lamb.
He was no longer debonair, he looked mutton dressed as lamb. Everyone, from sportsmen to starlets look luscious until they open their mouths and you're hit with unnatural perfection, the identical perfection you see in the mouth of the next star,male or female, and the next and the next.
She knows what suits her svelte figure and how to dress right for her age, never looking frumpy or mutton dressed as lamb. Here's our pick of Helen's best looks.
But since we have been together I've overheard friends making unkind comments like: "Mutton dressed as lamb" and: "Whatever does he see in her?"
Wolf branded Enrique Iglesias and Cliff Richard for " mutton dressed as lamb".
This is because fashions for the young make the old look either frumpy or the dreaded mutton dressed as lamb.
WE ALL think we know when we see mutton dressed as lamb in the human sense, but what of the origin of the condition.
There comes a certain age when if you're not careful, a lady can look like mutton dressed as lamb. And it's not as old as you might think it is.