- What does "lemon on" mean in this context?
- What is the origin of the phrase "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"?
In the above questions, "lemon" is used to mean a faulty or defective item. A typical use might be to describe a second hand car that, once bought, turns out to have serious faults, as a "lemon".
Why is the delicious fruit associated with faulty goods?
- perhaps via criminal slang sense of "a person who is a loser, a simpleton," which is perhaps from the notion of someone a sharper can "suck the juice out of."
- A pool hall hustle was called a lemon game (1908);
- while to hand someone a lemon was British slang (1906) for "to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one."
- Or it simply may be a metaphor for something which "leaves a bad taste in one's mouth."
But none of these rings true for me, and words like "may be" and "perhaps" show a lack of confidence. Can anyone shed more light?