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mustard

[muhs-terd] /ˈmʌs tərd/
noun
1.
a pungent powder or paste prepared from the seed of the mustard plant, used as a food seasoning or condiment, and medicinally in plasters, poultices, etc.
2.
any of various acrid or pungent plants, especially of the genus Brassica, as B. juncea (leaf mustard) the leaves of which are used for food and B. nigra (black mustard) the chief source of commercial mustard, and Sinapis alba (white mustard)
Compare mustard family.
Idioms
4.
cut the mustard, Slang. to reach or surpass the desired standard of performance:
a pitcher who cuts the mustard with his fastball.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English < Old French moustarde a relish orig. made of mustard seed and must, equivalent to moust must2 + -arde -ard
Can be confused
muster, mustard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cut mustard

mustard

/ˈmʌstəd/
noun
1.
any of several Eurasian plants of the genus Brassica, esp black mustard and white mustard, having yellow or white flowers and slender pods and cultivated for their pungent seeds: family Brassicaceae (crucifers) See also charlock
2.
a paste made from the powdered seeds of any of these plants and used as a condiment
3.
  1. a brownish-yellow colour
  2. (as adjective) a mustard carpet
4.
(slang, mainly US) zest or enthusiasm
5.
(slang) cut the mustard, to come up to expectations
Word Origin
C13: from Old French moustarde, from Latin mustummust², since the original condiment was made by adding must
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cut mustard

mustard

n.

late 13c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French mostarde "mustard, mustard plant" (Modern French moutarde), from moust "must," from Latin mustum "new wine" (see must (n.1)); so called because it was originally prepared by adding must to the ground seeds of the plant to make a paste. As a color name, it is attested from 1848.

Mustard gas, World War I poison (first used by the Germans at Ypres, 1917), so called for its color and smell and burning effect on eyes and lungs; chemical name is dichlordiethyl sulfide, it contains no mustard, and is an atomized liquid, not a gas. To cut the mustard (1907, usually in negative) is probably from slang mustard "genuine article, best thing" (1903) on notion of "that which enhances flavor."

I'm not headlined in the bills, but I'm the mustard in the salad dressing just the same. [O.Henry, "Cabbages and Kings," 1904]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cut mustard in the Bible

a plant of the genus sinapis, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, and also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament; and in each of the three instances of its occurrence in the New Testament (Matt. 13:31, 32; Mark 4:31, 32; Luke 13:18, 19) it is spoken of only with reference to the smallness of its seed. The common mustard of Palestine is the Sinapis nigra. This garden herb sometimes grows to a considerable height, so as to be spoken of as "a tree" as compared with garden herbs.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with cut mustard
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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