One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who is conspicuously successful and whose success frequently attracts envious hostility.‘this is a nation that likes to win, but it also prides itself on its tendency to cut down tall poppies’
- ‘I was expecting tall poppies to be gleefully lopped, hacked and triumphantly danced on, but instead they were treated with a strange degree of respect.’
- ‘"Mate, I am definitely not a Tall Poppy," he says with pained insistence.’
- ‘In 2002, the world-renowned manager and prototypical tall poppy, retired.’
- ‘Who are the tall poppies whose talent and drive must be restricted and restrained?’
- ‘Why do people get so much joy from cutting down tall poppies?’
- ‘Finns don't cut tall poppies down to size.’
- ‘Tall poppies aren't objects of admiration here, but scorn.’
- ‘Those who boo him expose themselves as the biggest morons in sport and the dark side of the tall poppy Aussie psyche.’
- ‘With his reputation for bluster and pomposity, the tall poppy was levelled in his near-death head-on on a West Australian highway.’
- ‘How does this tall poppy keep her head out of the clouds?’
- ‘He may have to make a self-transformation from a tall poppy into a shrinking violet.’
- ‘Call me Australian, but I love seeing a tall poppy get knocked down.’
- ‘Aussies rarely lose their sense of humour and love to poke fun at pomposity and 'tall poppies'.’
- ‘I'm not going to sugar-coat my personality just because an anonymous reviewer thinks that this tall poppy deserves a cutting.’
- ‘Two months ago another very rich "tall poppy" was felled by accusations of financial impropriety.’
- ‘Your country is notorious for knocking down its tall poppies.’
- ‘Abroad, he is a literary star but at home the novelist is a vulnerable, isolated and often unpopular figure - a tall poppy surrounded by sinister men with scythes.’
- ‘Australians love to deride tall poppies, and that's all very well, I love doing it myself.’
- ‘This is not the Australian way - slagging the underdog and propping up the tall poppies.’
- ‘We hate tall poppies, but woe betide the All Blacks when they lose.’
Mid 19th century: from an obsolete sense of poppy ‘a conspicuous or prominent person or thing’, probably with reference to Tarquinius Superbus, a king of ancient Rome who demonstrated how to deal with potential enemies by cutting off the heads of the tallest poppies in his garden (Livy 1.54.6).
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.