LINGUIST List 10.342

Fri Mar 5 1999

Disc: "Cutting the mustard"

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>


  1. Edward B. Plaisance jr., Re: 10.283, Cutting the muster/mustard

Message 1: Re: 10.283, Cutting the muster/mustard

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 11:26:49 +0300
From: Edward B. Plaisance jr. <>
Subject: Re: 10.283, Cutting the muster/mustard

I have always understood the origin of the phrase to be "cut the muster"
from the military context, as in "pass muster". Popular usage and
etymology and has rendered it as "cut the mustard". The 1976 Webster's
NID in the office here has both. The Collegiate Ninth Edition (1983) has
only the latter. I guess that the term "muster" has fallen out of usage
since colonial days, and people assume the term is related to actually
harvesting the mustard plant.

Ed Plaisance
Senior Designer (Curriculum)
Saudi Aramco
Ras Tanura
Saudi Arabia

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