Michael IELTS Band 9
Professional Teacher
Everyday UK Expressions (17): I'd rather watch paint dry

I’d rather watch paint dry<o:p></o:p>

Continuing our theme of sarcastic expressions, this one is used to say that you find something really boring. For example, a man says this to his girlfriend: <o:p></o:p>

Man: Would you like to watch the latest “Star Wars” film with me on your birthday?<o:p></o:p>

Woman:  I’d rather watch paint dry.<o:p></o:p>

This means that sitting in front of wet paint and watching it dry would be more interesting to her than watching “Star Wars”. Her boyfriend had better think up something more interesting!<o:p></o:p>

You can even be creative and invent your own boring activity and add it on to: “I’d rather”.  This is another well known one: <o:p></o:p>

“I’d rather watch the grass grow.”<o:p></o:p>

I’m looking forward to your interesting examples!<o:p></o:p>

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Oct 6, 2016 2:39 PM
Comments · 6

I think I would rather watch paint dry than watch cricket! (sorry cricket fans!)

I agree with you Natalia! Watching paint dry is more fun than reading about politics!  I'd rather eat dirt than spend time with a politician. (actually I wouldn't use this phrase, because as you say Mumtaz it isn't a very nice idiom to use!) Is it a USA phrase? 

October 7, 2016

I think "I would rather watch paint dry" is more polite than

"I would rather eat dirt". The first is to show something as

really boring and the second is to show it as a repulsive thing

to do, am I right? :')

As in: I would rather eat dirt than deal with this client again.

Now regarding today's expression:

"I would rather watch paint dry than sit and talk to you".

"I was invited to a wedding party. I would rather watch paint dry".

October 7, 2016

I'm not really sure Gillian, I honestly forgot where I heard it before ;)

It does sound very sharp, so I can't imagine hearing it in a polite conversation :')

October 7, 2016

Good examples from Mumtaz and Natalia.

"I'd rather eat dirt" has the meaning you suggest, Mumtaz.

October 7, 2016
I hate speaking about politics. I'd rather watch paint dry.
October 7, 2016
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Michael IELTS Band 9
Language Skills
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Learning Language
German, Italian