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Food Idioms

Animal--Business--Colour-- Food--Money

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

Apple of her


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


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


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


Finger in the pie, full of beans


Gravy train


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


In a nutshell, in the soup


Make one's mouth water


Nutty as a fruitcake


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


Piece of cake, polish the apple


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


Take with a grain of salt


Upset the applecart


Worth one's salt

apple of her/his eye

MEANING: someone or something that one likes a lot


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

bad egg

MEANING: a bad person, bum


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

big cheese

MEANING: an important person, a leader


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)


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

bring home the bacon

MEANING: earn your family's living


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


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


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


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

couch potato

MEANING: a very lazy person


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

finger in the pie

MEANING: participate in something that is happening


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


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


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


MEANING: not thought out or studied carefully


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


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


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


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

hit the sauce

MEANING: drink alcohol - usually regularly


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

polish the apple

MEANING: flatter someone


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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