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A.Word.A.Day--irish bull

Pronunciation RealAudio

Irish bull (EYE-rish bul) noun

A ludicrously incongruous statement.

[From Latin bull (to mock, jest, etc).]

The term isn't restricted to the Irish. It existed long before it came to be associated with them. Their association with this expression can be attributed to the long animosity between the English and the Irish.

Here are some prize Irish bulls:

If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive. -Samuel Goldwyn, movie producer (1882-1974)

Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. -Yogi Berra, baseball player (1925- )

An Irish bull is always pregnant. -John Pentland Mahaffy, professor (1839-1919)

"The brothers, Jack (Jack Mulcahy), Barry (Burns) and Patrick (Mike McGlone), are as confused and quirky as characters in a Woody Allen comedy. Burns can't quite take the same intellectual tack because he's talking about working-class types, but `The Brothers McMullen' is nonetheless a knowing look at neuroses that are salved by the fine art of Irish bull." Peter Stack, Low-Budget 'Brothers' Rich in Humanity and Laughs, The San Francisco Chronicle, Aug 9, 1995.

This week's theme: terms employing various nationalities.


I call architecture frozen music. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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