smell of the lamp(redirected from smells of the lamp)
smell of the lamp
To show the signs of arduous, overwrought effort, and to lack freshness or vitality as a result. (Said especially of academic or literary work.) His thesis is meticulously crafted, but the paragraphs are so dry and calculated, and the paper lacks any flourish or style. As a whole, it rather smells of the lamp to me.
smell of the lampshow signs of laborious study and effort.
The lamp here is an oil lamp, formerly used for night-time work or study.