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Hawk nor Buzzard

(Neither). Of doubtful social position—too good for the kitchen, and not good enough for the family. Private governesses and pauperised gentlefolk often hold this unhappy position. They are not hawks to be fondled and petted—the “tasselled gentlemen” of the days of falconry—nor yet buzzards—a dull kind of falcon synonymous with dunce or plebeian. In French, “N'être ni chair ni poisson, ” “Neither fresh, fowl, nor good red herring.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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