E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Hawk nor Buzzard (Neither).
Of doubtful social positiontoo good for the kitchen, and not good enough for the family. Private governesses and pauperised gentlefolk often hold this unhappy position. They are not hawks to be fondled and pettedthe tasselled gentlemen of the days of falconrynor yet buzzardsa dull kind of falcon synonymous with dunce or plebeian. In French, Nêtre ni chair ni poisson, Neither fiesh, fowl, nor good red herring.