the gods send nuts to those who have no teeth

Said of opportunities or pleasures which come too late to be enjoyed. Cf. Fr. le pain vient á qui les dents faillent, bread comes to those who lack teeth.

1929 American Speech IV. 463 God gives us nuts to crack when we no longer have teeth.

1967 RIDOUT & WITTING English Proverbs Explained 68 The gods send nuts to those who have no teeth. In this life we either have too little of what we do want, or too much of what we don’t want or can’t use.

2000 ‘C. AIRD’ Little Knell (2001) xiv. 161 ‘It’s seeing the gardens I—we—would have been going for,’ insisted Sloan, ‘Not the luxury.’ ‘Quite right,’ said Leeyes, adding obscurely, ‘The nuts come when the teeth have gone.’


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