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be + born + yesterday


be born yesterday (past tense only)

  1. (informal) To be new, naive, innocent, inexperienced, or easily deceived.
    I was not born yesterday, you know. I have done this before!
    • 1840, Henry Cockton, chapter 60, in The Life and Adventures of Valentine Vox, the Ventriloquist, page 508:
      "Do you think," he added, with an ironical grin, "that you'll go for to gammon me into that air! I'm hinnocent, I know, but I wasn't born yesterday exactly."
    • 1915, William MacLeod Raine, chapter 6, in Steve Yeager:
      "Say, do I look like I was born yesterday? See any green in my eye, Cactus Center?"
    • 1998, Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Icy Sparks‎, page 155:
      "Compared to me, you were born yesterday."
    • 2005, Howard Zinn and Donaldo Pereira Macedo, Howard Zinn on Democratic Education‎, page 69:
      If you don't know important things about history, then it's as if you were born yesterday.

Usage notesEdit

  • Mostly used in the negative to indicate that one is not as naive as had been implied, but sometimes in an affirmative form, as in most of the quotations above.



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