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Piece of cake

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  • A piece of cake is an American idiom with roots in the Old South. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of a piece of cake, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    The phrase a piece of cake describes something that is easily accomplished, something that is surprisingly easy to complete. It is presumed that the term a piece of cake is derived from the cakewalk, a competitive dance performed by black slaves which mocked the over-refined manners that plantation owners employed at their formal balls. The winner of the cakewalk received a cake. Eventually, the term a piece of cake evolved from this practice. The earliest known use of the term a piece of cake is in Ogden Nash’s Primrose Path, published in 1936: “Her picture’s in the papers now, And life’s a piece of cake.”

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    Examples

    Finding the name was easy, a piece of cake, or as a Greek might say, a piece of baclava. (The Sun Advocate)

    As you’ve probably noticed, predicting when volcanoes will next erupt isn’t exactly a piece of cake, especially as each volcano is different, idiosyncratic and doesn’t obey the same pattern of behavior as it has in the past, or displayed by any of its other fiery fountain comrades nearby or around the world. (Forbes Magazine)

    “If the decision we have made recently for our assistant athletic director is as easy as … the rest of my decisions I have to make as athletic director, it’s going to be a piece of cake because this was a no-brainer,” he said. (The Chronicle-Tribune)


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