Idioms title

The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

"food" idioms...

See also, the Phrase Thesaurus list of phrases that contain the word food

and, a list of phrases that relate in some way the word food

" A bite to eat "
Meaning:
A small meal, possibly taken quickly when time is short.
Example:
We won’t have time for a meal after the concert finishes so let’s get a bite to eat now before we go in.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly the UK, but elsewhere too.
Hear the idiom spoken:
" A hot potato "
Meaning:
A current issue which many people are talking about and which is controversial.
Example:
The bombing of Syria is a political hot potato.
Where did it originate?:
Britain. Derives from the literal sense that a hot potato is difficult to hold.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" A lot on your plate "
Meaning:
Having many responsibilities.
Example:
Your Mom dying just when you were moving house and being made redundant. You certainly have a lot on your plate.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
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" A piece of cake "
Meaning:
A task that can be accomplished very easily.
Example:
Jumping that two-foot fence? No problem - a piece of cake.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Very widely and commonly used, to the point of being considered a cliche.
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More idioms about:   cliche   america  
" A sledgehammer to crack a nut "
Meaning:
The use of excessive resources to overcome a small problem.
Example:
Using the air ambulance to get granny to hospital was a sledgehammer to crack a nut. She could walk perfectly well and we only live 200 yards away.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Widely used.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   tool   effort   america  
" Apples and pears "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for stairs.
Example:
Time for bed Jimmy - get yourself up the apples and pears.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   fruit  
" Baker's dozen "
Meaning:
Thirteen.
Example:
There's got to be at least twelve in each box. Better just pack a baker's dozen to be sure.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   number  
" Bite off more than you can chew "
Meaning:
Take on a task that is more than one can manage.
Example:
You should never have challenged Usain Bolt to a race - you've really bitten off more than you can chew there.
Where is it used?:
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" Blow a raspberry "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for fart.
Example:
Not good timing - we were sitting at the table when Granny said grace and he let go a raspberry.
Where did it originate?:
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More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   fruit  
" Blue plate special "
Meaning:
A set meal provided at a reduced price.
Example:
We were hungry but broke. The blue plate special was our only option.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Brown bread "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for dead.
Example:
That bird just landed on the live power cable. He's brown bread for sure.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   death  
" Buy a lemon "
Meaning:
Waste money by purchasing a car that is frequently faulty.
Example:
I thought that my new VW was top of the range but it's never out of the repair garage - a real lemon.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   fruit   america  
" Can't cut the mustard "
Meaning:
Unable to meet the demands put upon you.
Example:
He got that promotion too soon. He can't really cut the mustard.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   america  
" Cast iron stomach "
Meaning:
Said to be possessed by someone who is able to eat anything with no ill effects.
Example:
Nine burgers in one sitting! He must have a cast iron stomach.
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More idioms about:   the_human_body  
" Chow down "
Meaning:
Begin to eat.
Example:
Okay boys, I know you're hungry so chow down.
Where did it originate?:
USA, around WWII, from an Anglo-Indian slang source.
Where is it used?:
Mostly USA.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   america  
" Cream crackered "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for knackered. - note, when this term was coined, cream crackers were a popular snack in the UK.
Example:
That's an hour on the exercise bike. I can't do any more - I'm crackered.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   effort  
" Currant bun "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for sun.
Example:
It's rained every day for ages. I can't remember the last time I saw the currant bun.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   weather   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Don't cry over spilt milk "
Meaning:
Don't fret pointlessly about some mistake or loss when it can't be remedied.
Example:
Well, the vase is smashed. There's no point crying over spilt milk.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century proverb.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   drink   cliche   proverbial  
" Don't put all your eggs in one basket "
Meaning:
Don't risk all your property on a single venture.
Example:
Well, that horse is a good runner but I wouldn't bet all your money on it to win. That would be putting all your eggs into one basket.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 16th century proverb, from an Italian original.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   proverbial  
" Drink like a fish "
Meaning:
Drink very heavily.
Example:
Dean Martin drank like a fish.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   drink   animals  
" Eighty six "
Meaning:
Referring to an item on a menu that is no longer available.
Example:
I would have had the mushroom risotto but they're eighty-sixed it.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid-20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   number   america  
" Feeding frenzy "
Meaning:
A frantic competition or exploitation - like a group shark attack.
Example:
When Princess Diana was killed there was a feeding frenzy of journalists trying to get the story.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   nature   excess   america  
" Food fight "
Meaning:
Chaotic collective behaviour where items of food are thrown about wildly.
Example:
It was supposed to be a quiet wedding reception but some of the girls got drunk and started a food fight. There were canapes and buns flying everywhere.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   conflict   america  
" Greasy spoon "
Meaning:
A small cheap cafe selling fried food.
Example:
We had been driving all night. A fried breakfast in a greasy spoon was just what I fancied.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   household_items   slang   america  
" Hear it on the grapevine "
Meaning:
Hear rumors about something from an anonymous informal contact.
Example:
The girls in the dorm were talking and I heard it on the grapevine that Judy is pregnant.
Where did it originate?:
USA
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   language   fruit   secrets  
" In a nutshell "
Meaning:
In a few words. Concisely stated.
Example:
Our profitability has dwindled to a point where we cannot continue to meet our creditors demands. In a nutshell; were broke.
Where did it originate?:
The UK in the 19th century.
Where is it used?:
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More idioms about:   language  
" Jam jar "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for car.
Example:
Check my new Audi. Its the best jam jar I've ever owned.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   travel   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Jelly belly "
Meaning:
An overweight person.
Example:
I wish I could cut down on the cakes and get some more exercise - I'm turning into a real jelly belly.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but not common everywhere. Most used in Britain and Australia.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   reduplication  
" Liquor up "
Meaning:
To supply or to drink alcoholic drink.
Example:
They decided to get liquored up in the pub, even before they got to the party.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 16th century (to supply liquor). USA, 19th century (to drink liquor).
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but not commonly used everywhere.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   drink   america  
" Loaf of bread "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for head.
Example:
Betting your wages on the toss of a coin isn't the best way to get out of debt - use your loaf mate.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Old chestnut "
Meaning:
A story that has been told repeatedly and which has lost any originality.
Example:
Grandma brings out that story about her meeting the Queen every Christmas. It really is a hoary old chestnut.
Where did it originate?:
Britain - 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but most common in the UK.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   language  
" Pig out "
Meaning:
To overeat in a slovenly manner.
Example:
I told the babysitters not to pig out but when we got back there were nine pizza boxes on the floor.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but mostly by the younger generations.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   animals   excess   america  
" Plates of meat "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for feet.
Example:
I knew I shouldn't have agreed to help with the Christmas post. Ten miles up and down stairs today - my plates are killing me.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Potatoes (or taters) in the mould "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for cold.
Example:
Whoa, it's the coldest day of the winter so far - really taters.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   weather   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Rabbit and pork "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for talk.
Example:
He just goes on and on about his hobbies - rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   animals   cockney_rhyming_slang   language  
" Ruby Murray "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for curry.
Example:
Every Friday night after work, the lads all pile into the Star of India for a ruby.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   name   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Salad days "
Meaning:
The days of one's youthful inexperience and enthusiasm.
Example:
I'm too old and cynical to believe politician's promises now. I'm well past my salad days.
Where did it originate?:
Shakespeare
Where is it used?:
Mainly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   date   shakespeare  
" Syrup of figs "
Meaning:
Cockney rhyming slang for wig.
Example:
That thatch on Donald Trump's head - it has to be a syrup.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   cockney_rhyming_slang   hair  
" Take with a grain of salt "
Meaning:
Don't take what someone says too seriously - the the implication that it isn't true.
Example:
She says that she's Prince Charles' niece. I'd take that with a grain of salt if I were you.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 17th century. From a Latin source, possibly Pliny.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" The apple of my eye "
Meaning:
Someone who is cherished above all others.
Example:
She's my only child - the apple of my eye.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 9th century - making it one of the oldest phrases in the language that is still in regular use in its original form.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   fruit   the_human_body   cliche  
" The best thing since sliced bread "
Meaning:
An outstandingly good idea or plan.
Example:
Some people hate iPhones Apple fanboys think they are the best thing since sliced bread.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   excellence  
" The icing on the cake "
Meaning:
Something that makes a good situation even better.
Example:
Winning the race was great. Getting a medal and a prize was the icing on the cake.
Where did it originate?:
USA, late 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   excellence   america  
" Use your loaf "
Meaning:
Think smart.
Example:
Sending money to that Nigerian email scam. Use your loaf, mate - wasn't it obvious it was a con?
Where did it originate?:
Britain, mid-20th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but most commonly in Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body   cockney_rhyming_slang  
" Veg out "
Meaning:
Relax in a slothful manner, usually watching tv while lying on a sofa - (that is, become a 'couch-potato').
Example:
Such a stressful time at work this week. Come Friday night all I was good for was to veg out binge watching Friends.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, late 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but most commonly restricted to the under 40s.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   relaxation   slang  
" Wine and dine "
Meaning:
Entertain in a high class restaurant.
Example:
We won an all-expenses paid trip to Paris. We were wined and dined every night for free.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   drink  
" You are what you eat "
Meaning:
What you eat affects you health.
Example:
Burgers every evening? That's not a good plan - don't you know you are what you eat?
Where did it originate?:
USA, 1920s.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   medical   adage   america  

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