the old gray mare


Also found in: Wikipedia.

old gray mare

old-fashioned Something or someone that is aged, obsolete, or outdated. An allusion to the folk song "Old Gray Mare," especially its opening line: "The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be." It's (rare) modern use is usually somewhat derogatory. It may not have fancy apps or let me surf the Internet, but this old gray mare is still the only phone I need. I may be an old gray mare, but I still know how to get up and cut a rug on the dance floor.
See also: gray, mare, old

the old gray mare

The passage of time. A folk song attributed to Stephen Foster and supposedly referring to a 19th-century harness-racing horse named Lady Suffolk begins, “Oh, the old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be . . . Many long years ago.” Unkind people used the image to refer women “of a certain age” (or older), although when used by themselves about themselves, it has an air of self-deprecating resignation. For example, a middle-aged woman who leaves the dance floor short of breath after a vigorous jitterbug may wipe her brow, reach for a cold drink, and exclaim, “The old gray mare ain't what she used to be.”
See also: gray, mare, old
References in periodicals archive ?
In "The Old Gray Mare AC-T Is Still Kicking," local columnist Gina Phillips writes about the Asheville Citizen-Times in its 15 August 2009 edition.
When a child sets out to learn to play piano, he is thrilled when he masters a simple tune like "The Old Gray Mare." For an adult, mastering "The Old Gray Mare" brings less of a sense of accomplishment than a reminder of how far we have to go.
Like the old gray mare, the .410-bore shotshell ain't what it used to be.
The first songs-"Daisy," "Dixie," and "Danny Boy,"--get little response, but "The Old Gray Mare" gets a big laugh.
The above is not necessarily a catchy song line, to the tune of "The old gray mare." However, there are at least two major stories in this issue that support the concept behind the headline - that is, automated storage and retrieval systems are changing, and will never be the same again.