old chestnut

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old chestnut

A topic, saying, or joke that has been repeated so much that it has become boring or irksome. Whether there's truth in it or not, I can't stand that old chestnut "follow your heart."
See also: chestnut, old

old chestnut

A stale joke, story, or saying, as in Dad keeps on telling that old chestnut about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb . This expression comes from William Dimond's play, The Broken Sword (1816), in which one character keeps repeating the same stories, one of them about a cork tree, and is interrupted each time by another character who says "Chestnut, you mean . . . I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times and I am sure it was a chestnut."
See also: chestnut, old

an old chestnut

or

a hoary old chestnut

mainly BRITISH
COMMON If you describe something that is said or written as an old chestnut or a hoary old chestnut, you mean that it has been repeated so often that it is no longer interesting. Finally, how do you answer that old interview chestnut: `Why should I hire you?' The film is based on the hoary old chestnut of good twin/bad twin, separated at birth, final fatal meeting — you get the idea.
See also: chestnut, old

an old chestnut

a joke, story, or subject that has become tedious and boring as a result of its age and constant repetition.
The most likely source for this sense of chestnut is in the following exchange between two characters, Zavior and Pablo, in William Dimond 's play Broken Sword ( 1816 ): ZAVIOR…When suddenly from the thick boughs of a cork tree— PABLO. (Jumping up) A chesnut, Captain, a chesnut…Captain, this is the twenty-seventh time I have heard you relate this story, and you invariably said, a chesnut, until now.
See also: chestnut, old

an/that old ˈchestnut

(informal) a joke or story that has often been repeated and as a result is no longer amusing: ‘He told us all about the police arresting him for climbing into his own house.’ ‘Oh, no, not that old chestnut again.’
See also: chestnut, old, that
References in periodicals archive ?
Successive Government reports have found the so-called 'compensation culture' to be a fallacy, yet it seems the Taxpayers' Alliance is determined to perpetuate the old chestnut.
RE: PS14k for stinging hands after doing washing up, 27th January 2016 Successive Government reports have found the so-called 'compensation culture' to be a fallacy, yet it seems the Taxpayers' Alliance is determined to perpetuate the old chestnut.
And no arts show discussing comedy would be worth its salt if it didn't tackle the old chestnut of 'Why aren't there more female stand-up comedians?
As usual, the old chestnut about "retaining talented individuals" was wheeled out - the same old story that the banks, building societies, etc, have always used when awarding unwarranted riches to their upper echelons.
And last Sunday, he shot down the old chestnut that 'you can't out-football Arsenal'.
And don't listen to the old chestnut about paying peanuts and getting monkeys.
Also in the press is research which shows that thousands of local council directors are earning six-figure salaries which have been justified with the old chestnut 'We have to pay these sums to get the best'.
However, I wish he and others would delete from their file of ridiculous laws the old chestnut about mince pies being illegal on Christmas Day.
I suppose they will trot out the old chestnut - health and safety - as the reason for this continual vandalism.
You cannot use the old chestnut of the minimum wage increase affecting the cost of these services, that in itself does not warrant a near 60% increase.
VIN SCULLY: There's the old chestnut, ``No one is completely useless: You can always serve as a horrible example.
Women still do not receive equal pay to men, they still do more than their fair share of the housework, and then, of course, there's the old chestnut a sexually pro-active male is a stud and his female counterpart is a slag.
EVERY so often somebody comes up with the old chestnut about the Beatles ``putting Liverpool on the map'',giving the impression that the Fab Four brought recognition, wealth and untold prosperity to the city.
Over the generations, those resistance genes can migrate into the old chestnut lineages.
My only regret: the old chestnut on the parable of the talents, Milton's sonnet "On his Blindness," didn't make the cut.