In honor of National Croissant Day, let’s learn some baking-related idioms!
something is as easy as pie/it is a piece of cake: something is very simple to do or understand
half-baked: incomplete or not thoroughly planned
E.g. The boss would have been approved his new idea, if it hadn’t been so half-baked. Next time, he has to spend more time on preparing it.
As an editor, I get a lot of half-baked stories, and the authors get upset if we don't publish them. They have to make sure their story is complete and thought through.
icing on the cake: an additional benefit
E.g. Today she was promoted to head of the department and as an icing on the care, she also got a raise!
His new girlfriend is not just beautiful but very smart and funny too. What an icing on the cake!
that’s the way the cookie crumbles: it refers to something disappointing that could have been expected as typical outcome, similar to “that’s life”
E.g. No matter how hard she tried to be popular, the new girl was not able to make friends. But, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Nobody could believe that they chose Nick for the job and not Julie. Ah well, that's the way the cookie crumbles
to get a piece of the pie: to be among those who earn an advantage or reward
E.g. Lazy people want to a piece of the pie too, but they are not willing to work for it.
When the business started making money, everyone wanted a piece of the pie.
to sugarcoat something: to put something in a positive light
E.g. She is not afraid to share her opinions even if they are negative, and she doesn't even try to sugarcoat them.
The governor did not sugarcoat the reality of the tax increases. It’s not what we wanted to hear, but at least we knew exactly what would happen.
to have your cake and eat it, too: to have an unrealistic expectation about accomplishing something, to have it both ways
E.g. If you want more local services, you can't expect to pay less tax. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
He works long hours to pay for their big house and fancy car, but complains that he does not have time for his family. Well, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
There is no doubt language is shaped around so many different variables, including geography, culture and history. This list of 7 cultural concepts we don’t have in the US is a great example of how subtle differences in our value system can create new words, or the lack of it.
The article makes a great point saying, “If you want to add a new and different perspective to your life, there are plenty of other ways to recognize joy and beauty outside American traditions.” We can certainly broaden our views on life and what’s important in life, when we consider how other people think, and express themselves in other languages.
This lead me to think about how we approach learning a new language. The reason why we are encouraged not to translate each word and sentence into your mother tongue, is that there really is no way to translate and fully understand the meaning of another language. The concept may not exist, or the meaning maybe deeper than what you think it means. You may not know in what context it is appropriate to use the new word. It is far better to create a whole new path in your mind that thinks and feels in the new language, to have a whole new concept when using the new language. This way is definitely not the “easy road”. It requires more effort, but it is worth every effort in the end, since you will broaden your own understanding of the world in the process.
Photo from the Mother Nature Network website, expressing the Danish word Hygge that doesn't exist in the English language
This week, we will take a look at popular idioms with the word “mind”. Though many of their meanings are easy to guess, they can also be easily confused, so to avoid embarrassing moments, read along:
Speak your mind – to say what you honestly feel
E.g. Karla was always a very honest person. She was never afraid to speak her mind.
You can always rely on getting a straight answer from John. He will speak his mind even if the truth offends people.
Cross your mind – to briefly think about something; to consider something
E.g. It never crossed my mind to drive to the City. I enjoy train rides, not to mention, it is better for the environment.
Has it ever crossed your mind to put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket? It would make your mother’s job much easier.
Have/Keep an open mind – willing to consider different ideas or opinions, impartial
E.g. My daughter would like to go to college a hundred miles from our house. I wish she stayed closer but I am trying to keep an open mind.
Mary is not religious but would like to keep an open mind about what happens to us after we die.
Have something on your mind - to be preoccupied with a topic, to think a lot about one topic
E.g. Jim has a lot on his mind at the moment, don’t bother him with small stuff.
You are always on my mind. I cannot stop thinking about you.
Keep/bear in mind - not to forget; to remember
E.g. Keep in mind that you cannot bring liquid on the airplane, so pack accordingly.
Bear in mind that you need to call the doctor’s office for the lab results.
Slip your mind - to accidentally forget something
E.g. I am sorry, our appointment completely slipped my mind. Could we set up another time?
I meant to tell you that your mother called, but it completely slipped my mind.
Give a piece of your mind - to speak angrily to somebody about something negative they have done
E.g. I am sure your father will give you a piece of his mind for telling such a lie!
I've had enough of him not doing his homework. I'm going to give him a piece of my mind when he gets home from school.
Out of sight, out of mind - this means that if you do not see someone or something regularly, you will stop thinking about them
E.g. Sarah fell in love with a local boy during their holidays but since they left, they have not kept in touch and she even forgot his name! It is true, out of sight, out of mind.
I meant to read pay that bill but it fell behind the desk, and I forgot about it – out of sight, out of mind!
Mind your own business – to ask someone to stop interfering in or inquiring about someone else’s matter
E.g. Whenever he asks people how much money they make, he gets the same answer: “Mind your own business!”
Her mother always asks Joan about her boyfriends, but she does tell her to mind her own business.
Team of Hansa One Directors, Trainers and Instructors sharing experiences and interests on all things cultures and languages.