Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Return to one's muttons


OED definition:

Chiefly humorous. to return to one's muttons and variants  [ < Middle French, French revenons à nos moutons, lit. ‘let us return to our sheep’ (1480 as revenons a noz moutons), with allusion to a scene from the Farce de Maistre Pierre Pathelin (1464) in which the judge, in order to bring the litigants back to the matter of the stolen sheep, exclaims revenons à ces moutons!, ‘let us return to these sheep’] : to return to the matter in hand. Similarly to stick to one's muttons.  

1820   M. Edgeworth Let. 5 Nov. in M. Edgeworth in France & Switzerland (1979) 288   But to come back to our Muttons—the wind not being fair we did not sail.
1838   Thackeray Second Lect. Fine Arts in Wks. (1900) XIII. 280   But let us return to our muttons.
1883   M. Oliphant Hester (1984) xix. 196   He..turned away from the subject which had given him this momentary pleasure. ‘Let us return to our muttons,’ he said.
1903   A. Bennett Leonora iii. 72,   I shall have to return to my muttons directly.
1930   Punch 28 May 606/3   Both houses, having dealt with the Whitsuntide holidays, resumed their muttons.
1933   Sun (Baltimore) 3 Mar. 6/7   Let's stick to our muttons, old man radio, and make it music alone.
1943   A. Hastings Bright Conversat. 24   Stick to your muttons, and don't talk tripe.
1974   N. Marsh Black as he's Painted i. 31,   I digress... Shall we return to our muttons?