a widely held traditional belief that is now thought to be unscientific or incorrect
The phrase (and its earlier variant old wives' fable) is recorded from the early 16th century with the earliest example being from Tyndale's translation of the Bible.
Related Idioms and Phrases :
any old how
in no particular order
come the old soldier = play the old soldier
use your greater age or experience of life to deceive someone or to shirk a duty – informal
In US nautical slang a soldier or an old soldier was an incompetent seaman.
make old bones
reach an advanced age
He knew he would never make old bones.
of the old school
traditional or old-fashioned
1998 - Imogen de la Bere - The Last Deception of
Palliser Wentwood - He came of the old school in which men did not weep in front of other men.
the old Adam
Unregenerate human nature
In Christian symbolism, the old Adam represents fallen man as contrasted with the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
1993 Outdoor Canada : It is the Old Adam in us. We are descendants of a long line of dirt farmers, sheepherders... and so forth.
old as the hills = ancient as the hills
of very long standing or very great age
Hills are used in the Bible as a metaphor for permanence.
the old boy network
mutual assistance especially preferment in employment shown among those with a shared social and educational background
the old days
a period in the past often seen as significantly different from the present especially noticeably better or worse
old enough to be his father = old enough to be his mother
of a much greater age than someone – informal
1997 - Nelson De Mille - Plum Island - He was probably old enough to be their father, but girls paid attention to money, pure and simple.
an old one
a familiar joke
the old school tie
the attitudes of group loyalty and traditionalism associated with wearing the tie of a particular public school – British
old Spanish customs = old Spanish practices
longstanding though unauthorized or irregular work practices
This expression has been in use in printing circles since the 1960s. It is often used humorously to refer to practices in the British newspaper printing houses in Fleet Street – London - formerly notorious for their inefficiency. The reason for describing such practices as Spanish is not known.
1998 - Spectator - [Outsourcing] can do much for flexibility and more for costs and it is a proven cure for quaint old Spanish customs.
play Old Harry with = play the devil with
damage or affect greatly
Old Harry has been a nickname for the devil in northern England since the 18th century.