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Thirty Idioms about Food


In English, we love comparing one thing to another. We love analogies. As a result, over the years, the English language has become chock-full of idioms. An idiom is a combination of words which has a figurative meaning separate from the actual definitions of the words used. There are an estimated 25,000 idioms in the English language, and this year we’ve been looking at their meanings on the blog. Today’s idioms are all about food. If a friend has ever confused you by suddenly talking about cups of tea when you’ve asked them if they fancy watching a Twilight film, this post’s for you!

  1. a bad apple/egg – a bad influence/someone who brings trouble
  2. a couch potato – an idle person
  3. a hard nut to crack – a difficult person to understand/a difficult problem to solve
  4. a piece of cake – easy
  5. a smart cookie – a clever person
  6. big cheese – an important person
  7. bread and butter – the necessities
  8. doesn’t cut the mustard – doesn’t meet the required standard
  9. food for thought – worth considering
  10. gone pear-shaped – gone unexpectedly wrong
  11. in a nutshell – simply put
  12. in a pickle – in trouble/mess
  13. like chalk and cheese – opposites
  14. like two peas in a pod – very similar
  15. not my cup of tea – not the type of thing I usually enjoy
  16. selling like hot cakes – selling quickly and in large quantities 17) the apple of my eye – the person I adore
  17. the cream of the crop – the best
  18. the icing on the cake – something quite bad that happens in an already very bad situation
  19. to be handed something on a (silver) platter – to acquire something easily, usually without any effort on the receiver’s part
  20. to bring home the bacon – to earn the income
  21. to butter someone up – to flatter someone in the hopes of receiving special treatment
  22. to cry over spilt milk – to get upset over something that has already happened and cannot be changed 24) to eat humble pie – to apologise and accept humiliation
  23. to egg someone on – to urge someone to do something foolish
  24. to go bananas/to go nuts – to lose control as a result of being extremely excited/annoyed
  25. to have a bun in the oven – to be pregnant
  26. to spill the beans – to reveal (usually secret) information
  27. to take something with a pinch of salt – to accept that a piece of information is probably exaggerated
  28. you can’t have your cake and eat it (too) – you can’t have something ‘both ways’/you can’t have the best of both worlds/you can’t have the two mutually exclusive things you desire at once

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms:
Fifty Animal Idioms and What They Mean
Fifty Atmosphere and Weather Idioms and What They Mean – Part One and Part Two
Thirty Sports Idioms to Help You Through the Summer
Three Everyday Idioms and their Terrifying Origins
Two Idioms That Originate in America

Have a good week!


30 Jul 2014
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