take the gilt off the gingerbread

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take the gilt off the gingerbread

To make something less attractive or appealing. Gingerbread was traditionally decorated before being sold. Have you seen her without any make-up on? Talk about taking the gilt off the gingerbread! I thought being a nurse would be all excitement, but three patients vomited on me on my first day, and that's really taken take the gilt off the gingerbread.
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take the gilt off the gingerbread

BRITISH, FORMAL
If something takes the gilt off the gingerbread, it spoils something that would otherwise be good. It was a fairly pleasant break, though a heavy cold did rather take the gilt off the gingerbread. Note: In the past, gingerbread was sometimes decorated with gilt, which is a very thin layer of gold.
See also: off, take
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