Everything but the kitchen sink - Kitchen idioms The other day I learnt an interesting expression from the TV series Elementary. The police were trying to take out a drug lord but couldn't pin any crime on him. The captain said about their efforts: "We even threw the kitchen sink at him but nothing sticks." A kitchen sink is a very unlikely object to throw at someone, so when you reach this point that you find yourself throwing it, you went to great lengths and tried even the most desperate measures to solve a difficult situation. A quote from CNN: "Theresa May throws the kitchen sink at Brexit." (https://edition-m.cnn.com/2019/03/27/uk/theresa-may-is-throwing-the-kitchen-sink-at-brexit-intl-gbr/).

Normally, when you try everything there is to do, you would still refrain yourself from throwing the kitchen sink, so a common idiom to express that you did or took everything is "everything but the kitchen sink": We threw/took everything but the kitchen sink. See more explanations and idioms surrounding the kitchen here: https://nativetrailshome.com/kitchen-idioms/.

Btw, the kitchen is a hot place and if you can't take the heat you should get out of there, hence the expression "if you can't handle/stand the heat, you should get out of the kitchen" means that if you can't cope with the hardships and challenges of a situation (criticism, stress etc.), you should leave it behind and to someone who can handle it. Another press example: "The culture in Westminster has resulted in a 'if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen' approach to stress" (https://inews.co.uk/opinion/brexit-westminster-mental-health-crying-toilets/).

Do you know other kitchen related idioms in English or other languages?

Apr 6, 2019 7:35 AM
Comments · 16

At the risk of sounding like a party-pooper (which I'm not)...


Advice for English Learners About Idioms (my opinion)...

Idioms, in any language, are difficult to use correctly or in the right situation.
Idioms are not meant to be interpreted literally.
Instead, they are figurative forms of speech, and it takes many years, even for a native speaker, to know when to use an idiom.

An idiom is an expression used by a particular group of people with a meaning that is only known through common use.
For example; "kick the bucket" does not literally mean kicking a bucket with your foot - it means 'dropping dead'.

Do you see how using this idiom incorrectly could cause problems for you?
So, my advice to all English learners is to read them, learn them, but be very careful about using them.
In fact, it may be best to avoid using them at least until you have reached a middle or upper advanced level.


So, I was wondering if there are any idioms about idioms.
I searched and searched but sadly found none.


April 6, 2019

1) "That's like the pot calling the kettle black" or "the pot is calling the kettle black" is used when someone is being hypocritical. When things were cooked over fires, everything got black with soot. The pot is accusing the kettle of being black with soot when the pot is just as sooty itself. For an imaginary example of use, imagine Steve Jobs saying to Bill Gates "you stole the ideas for Microsoft Windows from the Apple Macintosh." Gates might well have replied "The pot is calling the kettle black. You stole them from Xerox."

Recently, the phrase is being heard in the shortened form "Pot, meet kettle." It's used by someone else commenting on the situation. Thus, an imaginary editorial in Computerworld might say "So Jobs thinks Windows was stolen from the Mac? Pot, meet kettle."

2) "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." This harsh and cruel remark is often made when replying to protests about innocent people getting hurt in some military or political maneuver. It is one way of saying "the end justifies the means." The end or goal is the delicious omelet. The broken eggs are the people who are killed or hurt in the process. 

3) "A watched pot never boils." The literal meaning is that it takes a long time for a pot of water to come to a boil, and if you actually wait and watch it, it "never" will (you'll get bored long before it happens). You should go do something else. It's used when someone is impatient. It means "stop being impatient. Do something else. When it happens, you'll know."

April 6, 2019
One German idiom is "in Teufels Küche kommen" (to end up in devil's kitchen) which means to get into hot water/trouble. This dates back to the Middle Ages when people imagined the hell like a kitchen where they would be roasted as punishment for their sins.
April 6, 2019

1) "What's cooking?"

(I think this is still current, it might be out-of-date!) It's used as a friendly and informal greeting.  It means "what's happening," "what's going on?" It suggests that the other person must be leading a busy life, or that some kind of wonderful plans are in progress.

2) A variety of phrases, sayings, and idioms use "cook" figuratively for some skillful procedure or process.

"Cooking the books" refers to fraud in accounting. "Books" means the accounting records for a business. "Cooking the books" means making false entries in accounting records in order to commit fraud.

3) "Boiled frog" is a reference to a false belief. What happens when a frog is placed in water that is warmed up very slowly and gradually? The belief is that if it is done very slowly, the frog will never notice the rising temperature and will allow itself to be boiled alive without jumping out of the pot. It refers to situations where something is getting worse, and nobody does anything about it because everybody just gets used to the changes. 

"So, the company isn't giving us free coffee any more. It's not a big deal."

"That's just one of a number of things. Last year they stopped letting us carry over vacation days.  It just shows you management's attitude. Things are getting worse here, and you don't see it. You're acting like a boiled frog. I'm going to start interviewing for other jobs."

"Be careful, other companies are like that, too. It might be 'out of the frying pan and into the fire.'"

April 6, 2019
Out of the frypan, into the fire - not exactly kitchen, but related. 
April 6, 2019
Show more