Definition of mutton in English:



mass noun
  • The flesh of fully grown sheep used as food.

    ‘a leg of mutton’
    • ‘Beef, mutton, pork and venison were common meats, and communities close to the coast could expect to widen their diets with fish and shellfish.’
    • ‘The dinner would consist of roast beef, roast mutton, roast pork, and vegetables, plum puddings, Christmas cake, and tea, and would be served to about 1,200 poor people.’
    • ‘The document reveals that the bishop's menu would have included a range of meats, from mutton and beef to veal, geese, rabbit, duck and lamb.’
    • ‘Meat pies, joints of mutton, and other hearty foods are most likely to be served.’
    • ‘Mongolian food - mutton, sheep's intestines, fermented mare's milk - is not reckoned to be one of the world's great cuisines.’
    • ‘Couscous, a dish made with granulated seminola grains, is usually topped with mutton, veal, or beef and a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, turnips, and pimentos.’
    • ‘The principal meats were pork, beef, mutton, and sometimes freshwater fish taken from the river.’
    • ‘Sausage, pork, beef, mutton, chicken, and dried or salted fish are widely available and relatively cheap.’
    • ‘He talks about Namibian meat, not only the superb game but also the beef, pork and mutton, which he considers superior to anything, brought in from across our borders.’
    • ‘I sat there sullenly staring at the roast mutton and potatoes.’
    • ‘Spirits were high and so were the plates, many piled with roast mutton, chops, potatoes and other delights to the palate.’
    • ‘In the eastern area, the food is heavier, with more of an accent on mutton and pork.’
    • ‘The best food to have is mutton, eaten by hand, or an entire goat.’
    • ‘It was made with beef, mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, wine and mixed spices.’
    • ‘We sat at opposite ends of the table and ate our meal of roast mutton, vegetables, and wine.’
    • ‘Colonial tastes survive in the form of sardines, corned beef and mutton, chocolate, and whiskey.’
    • ‘Most meat is mutton, although beef, chicken, turkey, and goat are also eaten.’
    • ‘The main traditional foods of the Mongols include beef, mutton, and milk products, supplemented by grain and vegetables.’
    • ‘He said he began thinking about how much he enjoyed mutton when he was growing up, and how a revival in the meat could boost the incomes of hill farmers.’
    • ‘Next came a course of chicken in rich sauces followed by another course of either beef, mutton or ham.’


    (as) dead as mutton
    • Quite dead.

      • ‘Totally unsuccessful, because they are as dead as mutton.’
      • ‘He was as dead as mutton by the time I'd got him out of the little beggar's paws.’
      • ‘There have been numerous similar proverbial comparisons - dead as a mackerel, dead as mutton, dead as a herring, dead as stone - but this one, with its alliterative lilt, has survived longest.’
      • ‘There are lots of ways to resurrect a dead character, but for the moment it seems this one must remain dead as mutton, so how to cash in on all those fans still mourning the loss?’
      • ‘Look at all the people married since Adam and Eve - and all as dead as mutton.’
      • ‘In the 1970s, when men were going to the moon, Nasa worried about lunar infection, even though the experts were thoroughly convinced that our cratered neighbour was as dead as mutton.’
      • ‘She thanked the ‘opposition’ supporters for turning up in such large numbers and so helping her meetings to avoid getting the reputation of those of her opponents - that they were ‘as dead as mutton.’’
    mutton dressed as lamb
    British informal, derogatory
    • A middle-aged or old woman dressed in a style suitable for a much younger woman.

      • ‘He said: ‘You get to an age when you look like mutton dressed as lamb.’’
      • ‘Dress your age, the article exhorted, and while the writer went on to say there were no longer any rules, the models were brooding over issues such as when a perky little miniskirt became mutton dressed as lamb.’
      • ‘‘She's far too old for that - she looks like mutton dressed as lamb,’ said one of my friends.’
      • ‘Her clothes are not mutton dressed as lamb - it is just her hair.’
      • ‘When you get married a second time you worry about being mutton dressed as lamb and a good way round that is to cover your arms, which she did.’
      • ‘I suppose I should be grateful they did not say I was mutton dressed as lamb!’
      • ‘There we are walking a tight rope between looking presentable and up to date and at the same time trying desperately to avoid the ultimate horror of looking like mutton dressed as lamb.’
      • ‘Simply put, it was a case of mutton dressed as lamb.’
      • ‘The people were frightening, mutton dressed as lamb springs to mind, the people watching will certainly keep you entertained.’


Middle English from Old French moton, from medieval Latin multo(n-), probably of Celtic origin; compare with Scottish Gaelic mult, Welsh mollt, and Breton maout.