Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Betty Vanderwielen

Bum steer

Funky Phrases


August 19, 2021

If Jack gave Jill a stock market tip that caused her to lose rather than gain money, Jill might tell Jack at their next meeting, “Hey, you gave me a bum steer!”

Did Jack give her a lame castrated male cow? Or a male cow that was lazy or just down on his luck? If Jack laughs instead of being sympathetic, might Jill use a stronger mule-related epithet to describe him?

Though the origin of the phrase “bum steer” is uncertain, dictionaries and phrase finders generally agree the “steer” in question is not the noun referring to a castrated bull, nor even one related to the financial s...

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