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Your English: Idioms: cake

Type: Article

Tim Bowen shows us why these idioms are a piece of cake.

‘He wants to stay with his wife but still see his girlfriend – talk about having your cake and eating it!’ If you have your cake and eat it, you enjoy all the benefits of a particular situation when, in fact, having one thing means that you cannot have the other. 

The comment ‘Let them eat cake’ is often used to comment on the attitude of a person who really does not care about a group of people or does not understand their problems even though he or she may pretend to do so. 

A piece of cake is something that is very easy to achieve, as in ‘My driving test was an absolute piece of cake’. The word cakewalk can be used with the same meaning. 

Usually only used in American English, to take the cake means to be the worst, most shocking or most annoying example of something. The British equivalent is take the biscuit, as in ‘So now he’s using the money he stole from people like us to fund his luxury lifestyle in Spain. That really takes the biscuit!’ 

The icing on the cake is something that makes a good situation even better as in ‘We were winning 4-0 at half-time and those three second half goals were just the icing on the cake’. 

If something sells like hot cakes, it sells quickly and in large quantities, as in ‘Tickets for his upcoming show are selling like hot cakes’. 

If you refer to someone as being as nutty as a fruitcake, you are using an insulting term to describe someone you think is strange or eccentric.

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