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cock-and-bull story

[kok-uh n-boo l]
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noun
  1. an absurd, improbable story presented as the truth: Don't ask him about his ancestry unless you want to hear a cock-and-bull story.
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Origin of cock-and-bull story

First recorded in 1600–10; probably with orig. reference to some fable in which a cock and bull figure
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cock and bull story

cock-and-bull story

noun
  1. informal an obviously improbable story, esp a boastful one or one used as an excuse
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

cock and bull story in Culture

cock-and-bull story

A story that is false: “When John came home at 3:30 a.m., he gave his mother some cock-and-bull story about having a flat tire on the way home.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with cock and bull story

cock and bull story

An unbelievable tale that is intended to deceive; a tall tale. For example, Jack told us some cock and bull story about getting lost. This expression may come from a folk tale involving these two animals, or from the name of an English inn where travelers told such tales. W.S. Gilbert used it in The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), where Jack Point and Wilfred the Jailer make up a story about the hero's fictitious death: “Tell a tale of cock and bull, Of convincing detail full.” [c. 1600]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.