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(as) sober as a judge

Other figures associated with sobriety are occasionally used in place of "judge," typically ecclesiastical figures such as "deacon," "priest," "parson," etc.
1. Stoic and reserved, perhaps even somber. Anita has been as sober as a judge ever since she heard of Marshall's death. The coach stood at the side of the field, sober as a judge, as the clock counted down on his team's championship ambitions. When I walked into the boss's office and everyone was sober as a judge, I knew I was being laid off.
2. Calm and rational. We need someone who can consider these issues without their emotions interfering—you'll need to be as sober as a judge from beginning to end! I don't want you in this meeting if you can't be sober as a judge. The last thing I want to do is referee a fight between the two of you. I don't think we should discuss this now, while we're all worked up about it. Let's reconvene in a few days when we're sober as a judge.
3. Not at all intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. I haven't been drinking at all, I swear! I'm as sober as a judge! Bill tried to convince me he was sober as a judge, but I didn't buy it—that's why I didn't let him drive home. John's remained sober as a deacon ever since the car accident three years ago.
See also: judge, sober

a dumb priest never got a parish

You'll never get what you want if you don't ask for it. Although I'm nervous, I'm going to ask my boss for a raise. After all, a dumb priest never got a parish, so what's the worst that can happen if I ask? You have to go for what you want in this world. I mean, a dumb priest never got a parish. Sure, it's worth a shot. A dumb priest never got a parish, so you might as well ask for better hours.
See also: dumb, never, priest

once a priest, always a priest

1. Once a man chooses to become a priest of the church, especially the Catholic church, it must remain his vocation for the rest of his life. You must weigh this decision carefully, Tom, for it is not one to be made lightly. Once a priest, always a priest.
2. A person who dedicated their life to serving God as part of the clergy will always retain certain tendencies and values gained from that position, even if they leave later on in life. I left the church a few years ago, but I still find myself examining what happens in my life and adapting it into sermons, of sorts. Once a priest, always a priest, I suppose.
See also: always, once, priest
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Once a priest, always a priest,

 and Once a whore, always a whore.
Prov. A person who has done a certain kind of job will always have the characteristics of people who do that job, even after he or she no longer does that kind of work. (This can be applied to many different occupations.) Alan: My cousin left the clergy, but boy! He still preaches at me all the time. Jane: Once a priest, always a priest, huh?
See also: always, once, priest
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
The priest was a large man with beaming, kindly eyes, and a round jovial face.
With the priest's aid the boy laid aside his armor, for it was heavy and uncomfortable, and together the two sat down to the meal that was already partially on the board.
"Doubt is natural to the weakness of mankind," the priest repeated the same words.
But by some of my Readers the possibility of the identical appearance of Priests and Women, under the new Legislation, may not be recognized; if so, a word or two will make it obvious.
"Is there any particular priest you wish to pray with Valentine?" asked d'Avrigny.
During the balance of the day the priests of Opar were busy erecting an altar in the center of the clearing, and while they worked they chanted weird hymns in the ancient tongue of that lost continent that lies at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Only tell us where we shall find a house at which we can demand aid and a village from which we can fetch a priest."
As Tarzan's heavy hand fell upon his shoulder the priest dropped his victim, and turned upon her would-be rescuer.
The priest, who was staring at him with the grave stare of a baby, was haunted by some fancy that escaped definition.
``Clerk me no Clerks,'' replied the transformed priest; ``by Saint George and the Dragon, I am no longer a shaveling than while my frock is on my back When I am cased in my green cassock, I will drink, swear, and woo a lass, with any blithe forester in the West Riding.''
At once all assailed Quiteria and pressed her, some with prayers, and others with tears, and others with persuasive arguments, to give her hand to poor Basilio; but she, harder than marble and more unmoved than any statue, seemed unable or unwilling to utter a word, nor would she have given any reply had not the priest bade her decide quickly what she meant to do, as Basilio now had his soul at his teeth, and there was no time for hesitation.
The first to sit up was the little priest, who scratched his head with a face of foolish wonder.
Ferguson, yielding to the priest's request, talked to him long and fully about France.
In the end he decided to become a priest, and when a friend tried to dissuade him from the calling as one too much below his birth, he answered: "It hath been judged formerly, that the domestic servants of the King of Heaven should be one of the noblest families on earth.
Powerless to recover their lost treasure by open force, the three guardian priests followed and watched it in disguise.