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Food Idioms

AnimalBusinessColourFoodMoney




Choose the idiom and click on it to go directly to the explanation and example.

A
Apple of her

B

Bad egg, big cheese, bread and butter, bring home the bacon, butter up

C

Carrot and stick, cool as a cucumber, couch potato, cream of the crop, cry over spilt milk, cup of tea

E

Eat crow, eat dirt, eat humble pie, eat one’s cake and have it too, eat one’s words, egg on

F

Finger in the pie, full of beans

G

Gravy train

H

Half-baked, hand to someone on a silver platter, hard nut to crack, (get or) have egg on one’s face, hit the sauce, hot potato

I

In a nutshell, in the soup

M

Make one’s mouth water

N

Nutty as a fruitcake

O

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, out to lunch

P

Piece of cake, polish the apple

S

Souped up, salt away, sell like hotcakes, spill the beans, stew in one’s own juice

T

Take with a grain of salt

U

Upset the applecart

W

Worth one’s salt

apple of her/his eye

MEANING: someone or something that one likes a lot

EXAMPLE:

The little girl is the apple of her grandfather’s eye.

bad egg

MEANING: a bad person, bum

EXAMPLE:

That man is a bad egg so you should try and avoid him if you can.

big cheese

MEANING: an important person, a leader

EXAMPLE:

He is a big cheese in his company so you should be very nice to him.

bread and butter

MEANING: basic needs of life (food,shelter,clothing)

EXAMPLE:

The voters are worried about bread and butter issues like jobs and taxes.

bring home the bacon

MEANING: earn your family’s living

EXAMPLE:

Recently he has been working very hard trying to bring home the bacon. He has no time to do anything else.

butter up

MEANING: flatter someone to try to get their favor or friendship

EXAMPLE:

He spends most of his free time trying to butter up his boss so that he won’t have to work so hard.

carrot and stick

MEANING: promising to reward or punish someone at the same time

EXAMPLE:

The government took a carrot and stick approach to the people who were illegally protesting against the construction of the dam.

cool as a cucumber

MEANING: calm, not nervous or anxious

EXAMPLE:

He is always as cool as a cucumber and never worries about anything.

couch potato

MEANING: a very lazy person

EXAMPLE:

He is a real couch potato and just sits around watching TV and staying indoors all day.

cream of the crop

MEANING: best of a group, the top choice

EXAMPLE:

The company is well-known as a good place to work and is always able to hire the cream of the crop of university graduates.

cry over spilt milk

MEANING: cry or complain about something that has already happened

EXAMPLE:

Don’t cry over spilt milk. The past is past and you can’t do anything to change it.

cup of tea

MEANING: something one enjoys or does well

EXAMPLE:

Going to art galleries is not my cup of tea so I think that I will stay home this evening and not go with you.

eat crow

MEANING: admit one is mistaken or defeated, take back a mistaken statement

EXAMPLE:

I was forced to eat crow and had to apologize for the mistake that I made about the restructuring of our company.

eat dirt

MEANING: act humble, accept another’s insult or bad treatment

EXAMPLE:

We made him eat dirt after he accused us of lying about the salary cut.

eat humble pie

MEANING: be humbled, admit one’s error and apologize

EXAMPLE:

Our boss was forced to eat humble pie after everyone realized that he had made the wrong budget estimate for next year.

eat one’s cake and have it too

MEANING: use or spend something and still keep it

EXAMPLE:

He refuses to give up anything and always wants to eat his cake and have it too.

eat one’s words

MEANING: take back something one has said, admit something is not true

EXAMPLE:

I told my boss that I would be leaving but later I had to eat my words and tell him that I wanted to stay.

egg on

MEANING: urge someone on

EXAMPLE:

Many people at the soccer game were egged on by the drunken fans.

finger in the pie

MEANING: participate in something that is happening

EXAMPLE:

He always tries to keep his finger in the pie so that he can control everything.

full of beans

MEANING: feel energetic, in high spirits

EXAMPLE:

She is full of beans tonight and doesn’t want to stop talking.

gravy train

MEANING: a job or work that pays more than it is worth

EXAMPLE:

For many years his job was a real gravy train but now the company has become very strict and will not pay overtime.

half-baked

MEANING: not thought out or studied carefully

EXAMPLE:

He has a half-baked idea about starting a new business but most of us think that it will fail.

hand to someone on a silver platter

MEANING: give a person something that has not been earned

EXAMPLE:

His education was handed to him on a silver platter and now he is very spoiled and selfish.

hard nut to crack

MEANING: something or someone difficult to understand or do

EXAMPLE:

He is a very serious person and is a very hard nut to crack.

(get or) have egg on one’s face

MEANING: be embarrassed

EXAMPLE:

He has egg on his face because everyone knows that he was sick at the party.

hit the sauce

MEANING: drink alcohol – usually regularly

EXAMPLE:

I think that she has begun to hit the sauce since her husband lost his job.

hot potato

MEANING: a question or argument that is controversial and difficult to settle

EXAMPLE:

The issue of building the nuclear power plant is a real hot potato for the local town council.

in a nutshell

MEANING: briefly, in a few words

EXAMPLE:

We went to the meeting and they told us in a nutshell what would be happening to everyone next year.

in the soup

MEANING: in serious trouble, in disorder

EXAMPLE:

She is really in the soup now. She told her boss that she was sick but he saw her downtown shopping.

make one’s mouth water

MEANING: look or smell very good, want to eat or drink very much

EXAMPLE:

The restaurant is supposed to be wonderful and every time that I see the menu it makes my mouth water.

nutty as a fruitcake

MEANING: crazy

EXAMPLE:

He is a very nice man but he acts strange sometimes and I often think that he is as nutty as a fruitcake.

out of the frying pan and into the fire

MEANING: go from something bad to something worse

EXAMPLE:

She quit the job because of some small problems but she has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire because now her problems are much worse.
 
out to lunch

MEANING: crazy, mad

EXAMPLE:

She is totally out to lunch and you should never believe what she tells you.

piece of cake

MEANING: a task that is easily accomplished

EXAMPLE:

It was a piece of cake. I had everything done before lunch this morning.

polish the apple

MEANING: flatter someone

EXAMPLE:

Nobody likes her because she is always trying to polish the apple with her teacher.

souped up

MEANING: change something to make it faster or more powerful by changing or adding something

EXAMPLE:

The new car that his neighbor bought is a souped up model of the one that he had last year.

salt away

MEANING: save money

EXAMPLE:

He has been working there for seven years and has been able to salt away quite a lot of money.

sell like hotcakes

MEANING: sell quickly or rapidly

EXAMPLE:

The new CD has only been released for about a week but already it is selling like hotcakes.

spill the beans

MEANING: tell a secret to someone who is not supposed to know about it

EXAMPLE:

Please don’t spill the beans about my plans to quit working and go back to school next year.

stew in one’s own juice

MEANING: suffer from something that one has caused to happen

EXAMPLE:

He is the one who caused the problem for himself and is now being forced to stew in his own juice.

take with a grain of salt

MEANING: accept or believe only part of something

EXAMPLE:

You should take everything that he says with a grain of salt as everyone knows that he likes to exaggerate things when he is speaking.

upset the applecart

MEANING: ruin a plan or event by surprise or accident

EXAMPLE:

Everything was going well at the company until he came along and upset the apple cart.
 
worth one’s salt

MEANING: being a good worker, worth what one is paid

EXAMPLE:

He has only been working here for a month but over and over he has proved that he is worth his salt.