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I was reading an online book and there was the expression "useless like tits on a log". I googled to find more about this expression and I found a similar one: "useless like tits on a bull". Which one of them is more recognizable in everyday English? Why haven't I been able to find references about the first one?

Edit: I think there is a whole group of expressions like that — "useless like tits on a boar", "useless like tits on a nun", "useless like tits on a turtle" etc. It is really interesting how we can make such an expression.

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    As stated at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowclone , 'A snowclone is a neologism for a type of cliché and phrasal template originally defined as "a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants'. Whether or not this is one depends on the 'acceptedness' of the variants. It may remain a nonce expression ( nonce 1 adjective (of a word or expression) coined for one occasion ) - oxforddictionaries.com - and, from the scarcity of Google hits, seems one at the moment. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 20 '13 at 9:06
  • The only of your example that make any sense (which is why it's probably the most common one used) is "useless as tits on a bull" - because given a bull's temperament, who would get close enough to milk it? The other examples, though comical, are also nonsensical. Actually, I think the one about the nun isn't without some truth though it's sexual and sacrilegious ;-) – Kristina Lopez Aug 20 '13 at 13:56
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    @KristinaLopez my take has always been that breasts on male mammals (boars,bulls) are useless since the males do not produce milk, on non mammals (turtle) they are useless because they do not suckle their young. Same goes for nuns, they are hardly likely to have children. So, there are actually perfectly decent, non-sexual interpretations if you are so inclined :). – terdon Aug 20 '13 at 15:26
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    Is there any chance that the first phrase ("tits on a log") was misheard, and is actually "tits on a hog"? This would make it fit the pattern of "tits on a bull" (both referring to male animals that don't nurse their young). – Leatherwing Oct 2 '13 at 6:00
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    @Leatherwing : Yes absoultely you are correct. Here, tits on a hog is misspelled as tits on a log.. – Sweet72 Oct 3 '13 at 11:13
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There is also a "tit bull," (East Texas), referring to a calf that was never weaned or steered and is still living off mama as an adult.

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    Not sure this addressed OP's question, though interesting. Might you possibly provide a source? – anongoodnurse Apr 6 '14 at 20:49
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None of these variants are significantly more recognizable than the others. The importance of the phrase is "useless like tits on a..." and it doesn't really matter what the end of the sentence is as long as:

  • The object has no tits
  • OR the object does have tits but does not produce milk from those tits

That being said, "useless like tits on a nun" provides an interesting exception and is actually a clever play on the traditional phrase. Why this is the case is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • It's most meaningful if the entity has tits, but they are non-functional. This is why "boar hog" is most likely the original, as the tits are quite prominent and visible, compared to most other familiar male non-human animals. – Hot Licks Oct 29 '15 at 6:54
  • Leaving it as an exercise for the reader is ridiculous. You took the time to write the post, so finish the the thought. – Anthony Feb 17 '17 at 1:03

protected by tchrist Sep 3 '18 at 13:54

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