old chestnut

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A joke, story, or subject that has become tedious and uninteresting because of its age and repetition; the expression is recorded from the late 19th century and the origin is unknown, although it has been suggested that it derives from a scene in W. Dimond's The Broken Sword (1816), ‘this is the twenty-seventh time I have heard you relate this story, and you invariably said, a chestnut, till now.’

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