Mutt and Jeff

Itzanami

Member
mexican spanish
Hi everybody in this forum, I would like to know what the meaning of "I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff" is.
There are three people in a conversation, one of them tell to the other two people they have to talk up and then this person tell "I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff". I do not know if I am right but this is called "Rhyming slang"?

I appreciate you help me with this and all mistakes I can make.

Thank you!!!
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Mutt and Jeff were cartoon characters (newspaper). One was crazy and the other was dimwitted. So if you are a bit "Mutt and Jeff" , then you are a bit dimwitted and a bit crazy.

    See: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_XCc22ntI7_E/RurgK-aKDXI/AAAAAAAAAwY/rGiuEY8k4QQ/s400/mutt1.jpg

    I think the tall one was Mutt; he was stupid and a horse racing addict.

    The short one is (I think) Jeff, and he came from an asylum.

    The strip was not in the NY Times which we had delivered to the house, so I am not very familiar with it.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Itzanami, welcome to the forum. I'm sure you read the Rules before you made your first post. You can see why we need context - the answer to your question depends on whether the conversation was British or American. Which was it?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    In that case it means deaf - as AutumnOwl wrote in Post#2.

    You can get that meaning from your explanation: One of them tells to the other two people that they have to talk up and then this person tell says "I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff"

    You are right, it is called rhyming slang.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The OED (and I) see it as Mutton Jeff, often shortened to mutton i.e. deaf.
    Sorry, PaulQ, that is not what the OED says. Mutton jeff is a secondary spelling, derived from the original cartoon strip title. Both forms can be attached to the meaning "deaf" (but Mutton jeff can only mean "deaf" and does not apply to the other meanings of the phrase).

    Etymology: < the names of two characters, Mutt (originally Mr. Mutt ) and Jeff, one tall and the other short, appearing in a popular comic strip created by Harry Conway ‘Bud’ Fisher (1885–1954), U.S. cartoonist. In form Mutton jeff reflecting a colloquial pronunciation;
    I do, however, agree that it may well be heard as "I'm a bit mutton" given that the joy of Cockney rhyming slang is the dropping of the part that makes the rhyme. I have heard both versions.

    Mutt and Jeff, n. and adj.
    Third edition, June 2003; online version March 2012. <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/235042>; accessed 11 June 2012. This word was first included in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976, as a subentry of “mutt, n.”

     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Also from OED: "In form Mutton jeff reflecting a colloquial pronunciation" Who would have thought I was colloquial? :D
     
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