A Cock and Bull Story (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "A Cock and Bull Story"?

A cock-and-bull story is an unbelievable tale. The term dates back as far as the mid 17 Century and is said to originate from Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire, England. Coaches between London and Birmingham changed horses in the town at two of the main coaching inns — The Cock and The Bull.

The banter of the travellers from England's two largest cities resulted in exaggerated and unbelievable stories. Therefore, a cock-and-bull story is an exaggerated or fabricated story like those told in The Cock and The Bull.

Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms

Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs