Cut yourself a piece of cake

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Axelroll, May 7, 2010.

  1. Axelroll

    Axelroll Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish (Spain)
    Hi, everybody:

    Is the phrase 'Cut yourself a piece of cake!' intended to mean 'Make yourself at home' when used in a non-literal sense?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I've never heard it in the non-literal sense. Where did you come across it?
     
  3. Axelroll

    Axelroll Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish (Spain)
    I know it is used in the USA, or was.

    From the Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catch Phrases:


    cut yourself a piece of cake!
    is recorded, as an English c.p., in Supplement 2 (p. 65, fn. 1), 1948, of HLM, along with how’s
    your poor feet?, does your mother know you’re out?, keep your hair on!
    . I myself have never heard it; I hazard the guess that it belonged to the extremely approx period c. 1890– 1940. Noble, 1978, referring to his journalistic days, wrote, ‘I’m reminded that whenever I entered Gracie Fields’s dressing-room for an interview in the 1930s, she used to greet me with “Come in, lad, and cut thisen a piece o’cake”; another was…, “Sit thisen down and make thiself look a bit less”.’


    Amazingly, the text above doesn't state what is the exact meaning of the phrase.
     
  4. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    That doesn't sound American to me. The reference seems to be BE. Let's see what the BE speakers say.
     
  5. Bevj

    Bevj Allegra Moderata

    Girona, Spain
    English (U.K.)
    I've never heard the phrase but since there is a reference to Gracie Fields, I guess it's from the north of England.
     
  6. Axelroll

    Axelroll Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish (Spain)
    Sorry for not giving all the details. HLM stands for:

    H.L.Mencken, ​
    The American Language, 1921; 2nd edn, 1922; 4th edn, 1936; Supp. 1=Supplement One,

    1945; Supp. 2 =Supplement Two, 1948
     
  7. Axelroll

    Axelroll Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish (Spain)
    And I've found the phrase in an American crime novel of the fifties by Horace McCoy.
     
  8. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    There was a song from 1923 called "Cut yourself a piece of cake and make yourself at home".

    A Google search failed to yeild up a copy of the lyrics, however.
     
  9. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    This link mentions and explains that song.
    << YouTube links are forbidden. >>
    It comes as no surprise that a singer like Gracie Fields appears to have used the expression as a greeting to mean "make yourself at home".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2010
  10. Axelroll

    Axelroll Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish (Spain)
    Thanks, Andy. So the meaning is literal but in another context (like in my novel) it may actually mean what I thought.
     
  11. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    No, it is not a current phrase with that meaning. People over seventy and fans of Gracie Fields might understand the reference in your novel, but the rest of us will be looking for a knife to cut the cake.
     
  12. Axelroll

    Axelroll Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spanish (Spain)
    I'm going to translate it as something like "Make yourself at home" and leave it that way.:) Thanks everybody.
     

Share This Page