Not sure how to spell a word? Hesitate no longer.

14 Jan. “It’s a piece of cake” Where do the origins of this expression lie?

The English idiom “it’s a piece of cake,” is an expression which does not relate in any form to food as one may expect. In fact, it relates to the ease of something.


The expression is used to say that a job or an activity is easy or simple. It is often used upon completion of a task which was much easier than it was expected to be.


The expression can be traced back to the 1930’s and so is a lot more recent that many other English idioms which can be traced back to the time of Shakespeare, or even beyond that. It was first used in 1936 by American poet, Ogden Nash in his poem Primrose Path where he wrote “Her picture’s in the papers now, And life’s a piece of cake.” It is not clear why this expression is used and exactly what is easy about cake but is suggested that it is not related to the baking of a cake which can be a complicated process but actually to the fact that during the early 1900s cakes were given out as prizes in many competitions and thus were something which had to be worked for but which could be won fairly easily. It has the same use as the phrase “as easy as pie,” which is not used in British English but is much more common in American English.


An example of the use of this idiom can be found in the headline of an article on the BBC news website from February 2014 entitled “Angela Merkel: EU reform not a piece of cake.”

Now knowing when to use this expression really should be “a piece of cake!”

Ne ratez pas

Should I be pleased to be described as “the laughing stock?”

publié le 4 June

Have you ever been described as "the laughing stock?" Do you want to know if this is a compliment or not? If this is the case then keep reading and th...

voir plus

What does it mean if something happens at “the eleventh hour?”

publié le 2 June

The English idiom, "at the eleventh hour" is often used in conversation. It can seem rather confusing if you do not have prior knowledge of what it me...

voir plus

Is it a good thing to “kill time?”

publié le 2 June

This English expression is very commonly used, particularly in general day-to-day conversation. If you want to find out when and how to use it, read t...

voir plus