play gooseberry

Definition

Slang

  • verb to be the unwanted third person present at a romantic assignation, as a chaperone, uninvited guest or unwitting intruder. The expression dates from the 19th century: in the language of parents and children ‘gooseberry’ then, as now, denoted a buffoon or figure of fun, possibly from the supposedly comic appearance of the fruit or its sour taste.
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