Definition of curate's egg in English:

curate's egg


  • A thing that is partly good and partly bad.

    ‘this book is a bit of a curate's egg’
    • ‘This compilation is a bit of a curate's egg, omitting the Virgin years which yielded the band's classic output and instead gathering together material from early albums, live material from the 80s and a slew of 90s pieces.’
    • ‘Like the curate's egg, this path is good in parts.’
    • ‘It would be being over kind to suggest that it's a curate's egg of a schedule, but it's not quite the stinker it could have been.’
    • ‘While the evening was, like the curate's egg, only good in parts, it still made for a good evening in the theatre and one I have no reservation in recommending.’
    • ‘But without the accompanying TV show, all crashing waves, white sand and gnarly crofters, the book reveals itself as something of a curate's egg.’
    • ‘The result: a curate's egg of a company which will find it hard to punch its weight in stock markets wary of hybrid deals based on regulatory need rather than financial reality.’
    • ‘In my opinion, it's a bit of a curate's egg, so no more than five for now!’
    • ‘Volumes of collected journalism do rather tend to be curate's eggs.’
    • ‘Jones has been trying to run a curate's egg in an industry that has become increasingly specialised.’
    • ‘Like the curate's egg, Costa Rica's goalkeeper was good in spots.’
    • ‘There are many who aver that the various systems of medicines resemble a curate's egg, good in parts.’
    • ‘It's a fine film, the very definition, perhaps, of a curate's egg.’
    • ‘Like the curate's egg, however, our experience was only good in parts.’
    • ‘The defence was like the curate's egg, good in spots, but inclined to be a bit jittery under pressure.’
    • ‘In fact it's a curate's egg - good in parts, but the parts that are good are very good.’
    • ‘Another curate's egg certainly won't be good enough.’
    • ‘The markets on Monday and Tuesday were akin to the old curate's egg.’
    • ‘Like the curate's egg, they have been good in parts.’
    • ‘The market this week has been a real curate's egg with cattle taking a sharp downward turn following upon the Irish dumping; but the other two sectors were very healthy.’
    • ‘The collection is something of a curate's egg and some of the essays, it must be said, seem to trail off into rather bizarre fields of modem learning.’


Early 20th century: from a cartoon in Punch (1895) depicting a meek curate who, given a stale egg at the bishop's table, assures his host that “parts of it are excellent.”.