Random Thoughts 74

最終更新: 4月13日

Food for Thought

In English there are several idiomatic expressions related to food and eating. Take the title of this blog, for example. Food for thought means “something worth seriously considering”. To chew on something means to “consider” it. We use the word swallow to mean “accept”, as in accepting a proposal. If I found the proposal to be difficult to accept, perhaps because I had doubts about it, I would say, “that is hard for me to swallow”. If I wanted to imply someone was gullible[1] I would say, “He would swallow anything,” which means he would believe anything.


If a person, or a problem, is difficult to understand we refer to that person or problem as a hard nut to crack. In other words, like a nut, that person, or problem, has a hard exterior that is difficult to get beyond. The expression in a nutshell means “simply put”.[2]


Perhaps you are familiar with VIP, the initials for Very Important Person. We can colloquially refer to such as person as being a big cheese. If I say, “Bob is buttering up the boss for a promotion,” I am saying that Bob is using flattery[3] on the boss to try to obtain a promotion. Bread and butter refers to “necessities”.[4] The breadwinner in a family is the person who supports the family financially.[5] To bring home the bacon means to “earn an income” and provide the money on which to live.


Beans can be used in different ways. To spill the beans means to reveal information that probably should have been kept secret. To say that someone is full of beans means that the person is talking nonsense. In baseball it can be used as a verb meaning “to be hit on the head.” For example, “The pitcher beaned the batter with a wild pitch.” That is because bean can also mean “head”. About 100 years ago beanies[6] were a popular cap worn by boys.


Perhaps you may have heard the expression a piece of cake which means something easy to do or achieve. The expression You can’t have your cake and eat it, too means that you cannot have two mutually exclusive things you desire at the same time.[7]

[1]騙されやすい [2]手短に、きわめて簡潔に言うと [3]世辞 [4]毎日の生活に必須のもの [5]大黒柱 [6]ビーニー [7]同時にふたつの相反することは楽しめない

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