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10 Idioms About Food [infographic]

  • October 22, 2012
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What are Idioms?
Idioms are phrases that have taken on new meaning, and English is riddled with food references. Here are ten examples of idioms that are food-related.

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“Nutty as a Fruitcake”
A crazy or odd person is called a nut, and there are a lot of nuts in fruitcake. This is used from harmless silliness to someone who needs professional help.

“That Annabelle is sweet, but she is as nutty as a fruitcake.”
“Frank is nuttier than a fruitcake; he once painted himself blue for a football game…in December!”

“Slower than Molasses”
Molasses is a syrupy liquid that pours slowly. For drama, people will add “in January,” “going uphill,” or both.

“Phyllis is an excellent typist, but she is slower than molasses when filing reports.”
“That horse I bet on was slower than molasses going uphill in January. I lost $40!”

“Cool as a Cucumber”
A person who is able to remain calm is “as cool as a cucumber.”

“Our boss was as cool as a cucumber when he told us our paychecks would be late.”
“Her car was on fire, her dog was on fire, and her hair was on fire, but Janet somehow remained as cool as a cucumber.”

“Bad Apple”

One spoiled apple will cause the apples around it to spoil. The idiom may refer to a bad person, or it can refer to a bad person who affects others.

“That Bob is one bad apple; he came to work with an eye patch, and now everyone is talking like a pirate.”
“I am not allowed to date you, my dad says you are a bad apple.”

“Big Cheese”
This refers to a leader, boss, or important person.

“Since Johnny filled his lunch-box with cookies, he will be the big cheese at school.”
“After the awards were distributed, the company’s big cheese gave a speech.”

“Couch Potato”
A lazy person who spends his spare time in front of the TV.

“I’m off this weekend, and I intend to be a couch potato.”
“Bob had a beer in one hand, a bag of chips in the other, and the remote on his lap: the perfect picture of a couch potato.”

“A Lot on my Plate”
This refers to an over-abundance of food on a dinner plate, and it is used when someone has many responsibilities or scheduled activities.

“Asked to plan the company’s 50th anniversary party, Bubba had a lot on his plate.”
“I would go to the zoo with you, but I have too much on my plate this weekend.”

“Take it with a Grain of Salt”
The source indicated may not be completely trustworthy, so do not automatically believe everything.

“I have a book on chicken farming, but it’s 150 years old, so I take a lot of the advice with a grain of salt.”
“Frank is a fruitcake; take anything he says with a grain of salt.”

“Piece of Cake”
A task is easy.

“That crossword puzzle was a piece of cake.”
“I thought that chicken would peck me, but taking her eggs was a piece of cake.”

“Walk on Eggs”
“On eggs” or “walking on eggs” is an attempt to not upset someone in a foul mood.

“After I broke Mom’s vase, I walked on eggs for a week.”
“You spent the rent money? You had better be on eggs when you get home, mister!”

English is filled with idioms and phrases related to food, and some are pretty weird. What is the strangest food idiom you have heard?

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