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The meaning and origin of the expression: As easy as taking candy from a baby

As easy as taking candy from a baby

What's the meaning of the phrase 'As easy as taking candy from a baby'?

Very easy.

What's the origin of the phrase 'As easy as taking candy from a baby'?

The first thing an English person like me would notice about this phrase is that it is archetypically American. Here in the UK, and in many other English speaking cultures, we have sweets, not candy. The second thing is, as the old witticism goes, "Easy? Have you ever tried it?".

As easy as taking candy from a baby There's not a great deal to say about this simile other than determining where and when it originated.

As to where, the USA is an obvious first guess, which turns out to be correct. All of the early examples of the expression in print come from there - for example, this from the Arkansas City Daily Traveler, January 1898:

The Third ward kid foot ball team beat the Fourth ward team this afternoon 18 to 4. The Third warders say winning the game was like taking candy from a baby.

The use of the expression without any explanation suggests that the readership would have been expected to know it, which in turn suggests that it may well have been earlier in origin. In fact I have seen a couple of citations from a year or two earlier but, as I've no access to the source data they come from, I can't substantiate them. Suffice to day that the expression originated in the USA in or around the late 19th century.

See also 'a piece of cake' and 'as easy as (apple) pie'

See other 'as x as y similes'.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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