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beef from bull's foot, not to know

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beef from bull’s foot, not to know v phr Also beef from bull, not to know; beef from butter, ~; beef from the bull’s tail, ~ [Prob var of B from (a) bull’s foot, not to know v phr by assimilation of f] Cf beans, not to know v phr

To be very stupid.
1861 WI Daily Patriot (Madison) 16 Nov [2]/1, Our army would B immortalized if it would B proper to do it, since the initials of so many places made notorious by their presence, are B’s. . . One would think they would know Beef from Bull’s foot by this time. 1894 NY Times (NY) 23 Dec 12/2 Brooklyn NY [Black], She expostulates mildly when the Home Circle of King’s Daughters, of which she is President, is mentioned, because it’s a “mighty poor President to have, an old invaleed . . who doesn’t know beef from bull’s foot.” 1940 AmSp 15.221 cwTX, When the ‘tenderfoot’ wife displays her inability to cope with ranch life, her neighbors assert that ‘she don’t know beef from bull’s foot.’ c1950 Halpert Coll. wKY, nwTN, He is so dumb he doesn’t know beef from bull’s foot. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. JJ15b, . . A person who seems to you very stupid: “He doesn’t know _____.”) Infs IN79, OK1, VA15, Beef from bull’s foot; NJ28, Beef from butter, NM12, Beef from the bull’s tail. 2008 in 2015 DARE File—Internet NC, Alltel customer service is a bunch of foreign idiots that dont know beef from bull.
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