One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A light rubber-soled canvas shoe, as worn for sport in schools.‘their children were going to school in mutton dummies’
- ‘My Aunt Lily and a few neighbour women had bunched up and paid for a new pair of white mutton dummies.’
- ‘Once he got into his red car, I would sprint in my black mutton dummies trying to beat him to school.’
- ‘They are heavily into white sports socks, the tops of the ankles showing various team colours, wearing them in conjunction with a pair of trainers or mutton dummies.’
- ‘Each morning, pupils would attend assembly wearing their short trousers and mutton dummies on their feet’
- ‘The last thing he heard of Teddy was his mutton dummies on the stairs as he went to join the missus above.’
- ‘I could live with the suit too big and the shirt too wide, but the mutton dummies bothered me: nobody else would have busted mutton dummies.’
- ‘I had been to the shop several times with my mother, usually at the start of the school year to buy cheap shoes and mutton dummies.’
- ‘Your da will be freezing son with him having only those mutton dummies on his feet.’
2A person who is lacking sense or initiative.‘you're left staring like a mutton dummy’
- ‘She stood there like a mutton dummy.’
- ‘No sooner have I said that was the 'worst' official I have seen and in the next match I see another mutton dummy.’
1930s: origin unknown; possibly from mutton cloth ‘a type of cotton cloth used to wrap meat’ (from the resemblance to the material from which the shoes are made) + dummy with reference to the lack of noise they make.
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