Teaching grandmother to suck eggs

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Teaching (your) grandmother to suck eggs is an English language saying that refers to a person giving advice to another person in a subject with which the other person is already familiar (and probably more so than the first person).[1]

Origins of the phrase[edit]

The origins of the phrase are not clear. The OED and others suggest that it comes from a translation in 1707, by J. Stevens, of Francisco de Quevedo (Spanish author):[2] "You would have me teach my Grandame to suck Eggs".[3][4]

Notable early uses[edit]

I remember my old schoolmaster, who was a prodigious great scholar, used often to say, Polly matete cry town is my daskalon. The English of which, he told us, was, That a child may sometimes teach his grandmother to suck eggs

Related phrase[edit]

The use of the phrase "Suck-egg" for "a silly person" is dated back to 1609 by the OED.[6]

See also[edit]

  • Mansplaining, a gendered term describing a similar phenomenon

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Free Dictionary". Retrieved 2009-05-07..
  2. ^ "Teaching grandmother to suck eggs: Meaning, Origin". Word Histories. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. ^ "egg, n.", §4b, Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1st edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press), accessed 27 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Teaching one's grandmother to suck eggs". World Wide Words. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  5. ^ Henry Fielding. "The History of Tom Jones a Foundling, Chapter 12". Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  6. ^ "alt.usage.english". Retrieved 2009-05-07.