Site Feedback

Resolved questions
Cool as a cucumber

I know that it means "very calm despite the difficult or surprising situations."

But why cucumber?

And are there any other expressions that have the same meaning I can use instead?


Thanks.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

Share:

1 comment

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

     

    Answers

    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Well, I guess we usually eat cucumbers cold instead of cooking them, so maybe they seem cold or cool to us. I don't know about other languages, but a lot of idioms in English rhyme or use alliteration (repeating the same sound). Sometimes the words don't really make any sense but they are fun to say. Some other examples:

    "drunk as a skunk" -- it just means really drunk and it rhymes, so that's fun. I don't think skunks are well known for being drunks or for loving alcohol.

    "busy as a bee" -- I guess bees actually are pretty busy, but it's a popular saying because the alliteration (two "b" sounds) makes it fun to say.

    "loose as a goose" -- it means very relaxed, especially right before a stressful event like performing on stage, etc. The meaning has no connection at all to geese, but people like to say it because it rhymes.

    "lucky duck" -- someone who has had good luck or luckily finds him/herself in a nice situation. Again, there's nothing lucky about ducks in real life.

      OOPT

    Meaning

    Calm and unruffled.
    Origin

    Cool here means imperturbable rather than having a low temperature. Cucumbers are cool to the touch.

    First recorded in John Gay's Poems, New Song on New Similies, 1732:

    "I ... cool as a cucumber could see The rest of womankind."

    Some women use slices of cool cucumber to put on their closed eyes as they recline and enjoy expensive spas for relaxation. Maybe that's where the idiom came from.

    Other sayings are: "cool, calm and collected", "cool it" (meaning calm down, simmer down).
    The opposit is "hot and bothered", "he's full of hot air", "hot-headed", "he's hot under the collar".
    I haven't a clue why "cool as a cucumber", except for its alliterative charm.
    You could use the word "unflappable".
    "She rises above the situation".
    "She's so laid back, she's horizontal" means the same thing, but has negative connotations.
    Here's a song for you, from Jah Wobble:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHzHpDXV8G0

    Submit your answer


    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.