You can't beat a bit of bully!

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Rust Cohle

New Member
What does it ['You can't beat a bit of bully!'] mean?

<Sentence inserted into the body of the post. Nat>
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  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It was a catchphrase of the late Jim Bowen when presenting a TV game show called Bullseye. It means that nothing is better than a bit of bully. Bully was an animated character which was the show’s mascot, and I always understood the phrase to mean that nothing was more enjoyable than the show. Like all catchphrases the precise meaning is less important than the fact that it was repeated often and comfortably familiar to regular viewers


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I've never heard the catchphrase, so the sentence has a different meaning for me.

    You can't beat... - There's nothing better than...

    Bully (uncountable noun) is occasionally used as a shorter form of bully beef. It shouldn't be confused with the countable noun, a bully (someone who bullies).

    So, if this were a culinary context I would take the sentence to mean "You can't beat a nice bit of bully beef".;)


    Senior Member
    English UK
    And the following is also true for that sentence. ;)
    Interesting! Veli's Collins link seems to indicate that 'bully beef' is intelligible in AmE, though it means something different from in BrE. Perhaps it's just that it's not abbreviated to "bully"?
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    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    My mother used to call it bully beef - around the same time as my first memory of the end of rationing after WW2. Of intertest in the dictionary link
    This word is first recorded in the period 1865–70. Other words that entered English at around the same time include: batting average, goulash, racism, springboard, tick-tack-toe


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Bully, the Bullseye show's cartoon mascot, can be seen here:
    You can't beat a bit of Bully!

    So there was a bit of punning going on - the British darts show was called Bullseye, and the choice of a bull-mascot played on the "bull- bullseye- darts" association.
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