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What does that old chestnut mean?

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2007-08-18 17:41:49

A stale joke, story, or saying, as in Dad keeps on telling

that old chestnut about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a

light bulb. This expression comes from William Dimond's play,

The Broken Sword (1816), in which one character keeps

repeating the same stories, one of them about a cork tree, and is

interrupted each time by another character who says "Chestnut, you

mean . . . I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times and I

am sure it was a chestnut."

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