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Prompted by this question (How old is “Bollocks!”?), I wonder why it's so often "old bollocks".

Where I live (South-East England), "giving it all that old bollocks" is a fairly common expression in certain circles. That's probably quite localised dialect, but googling the net suggests that a load of old bollocks, the same old bollocks and other old variants are quite common in the world at large.

When people say "Don't give me that old crap!", it normally means they've heard your line before, and don't want to hear it again. But I don't get that implication of repetition with old bollocks.

With "That's a load of old bollocks!" I can discard "a load of" and/or "old". None of the variants seem to imply I've heard it before. I don't feel quite so comfortable with "That's old bollocks!" though - maybe I only accept it at all because it sounds like "That's all bollocks!"

I hear plenty of "That's balls!", but they never seem to be old. Why is this?

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What is it with the bosom and bollock questions today? :) –  JeffSahol Sep 21 '11 at 2:31
    
I had actually been wondering about the prevalence of "giving it all that old bollocks" for some weeks, but I figured it's probably just a bit of sarf-london vernacular that would get closed as "too localised" if I asked about it here. But I just couldn't resist when "this question" came up. :) –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 2:38
    
Have just learnt "a load of cobblers" is also linked to balls. –  JoseK Sep 22 '11 at 6:33
    
Because, more often than not, they're wrinkly. –  Brad Apr 28 '12 at 11:55
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It may have something to do with the fact that "bollocks" isn't inherently negative - for instance, "the dog's bollocks" is quite positive. The use of "old" thus qualifies that these are not, er, bollocks of praise, but rather bollocks that have passed their (doglike?) prime.

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An alternative/supplemental explanation: the negativity of the word "old" here reflects the subconscious concerns of the young, slang-wielding generations regarding the UK's aging population. –  onomatomaniak Sep 21 '11 at 6:43
    
+1 for what seems like a real bit of "thinking out of the box". –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 11:17
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No, old in this instance means that the speaker has heard this all before. When someone gives an excuse that everyones heard a million times. E.g. A train is delayed for "leaves on the line". –  James Woolfenden Dec 15 '11 at 14:01
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protected by tchrist Jan 12 '13 at 3:56

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