a food killer

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EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all, my son is working on a piece of imaginative writing, and he has used "a food killer" to refer to someone who has a huge appetite for food. Will "a food killer" be understood the way he intended, or will it be misinterpreted (e.g. a killer made up of food (in a fantasy novel))?

The whole sentence is something like this:

"You know, I love eating and I eat anything. I'm a food killer."
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't know, but if we are feeling very hungry in the morning, we might say "I could murder a bowl of corn flakes."
    Personally, I think that sounds like a confession to being a cereal killer.:D
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    How might it be interpreted by native speakers?
    Who can know? It's not a normal collocation and there's no single likely interpretation. When I read it my reaction was that it didn't make sense, rather than perceiving a meaning.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I don't know, but if we are feeling very hungry in the morning, we might say "I could murder a bowl of corn flakes."
    Personally, I think that sounds like a confession to being a cereal killer.:D
    Does that refer to someone "killing" (devouring) cereal, or does that refer to cereal being the killer (as in a work of fiction)?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Does that refer to someone "killing" (devouring) cereal, or does that refer to cereal being the killer (as in a work of fiction)?
    It is a joke - a pun. Serial and Cereal are pronounced the same.

    Serial killer -> someone who murders many people on separate occasions
    Cereal -> a breakfast food made from grain, e,g, cornflakes.

    "I could murder something" Idiom used where the "something" is not alive = I have a great desire for something.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It is a joke - a pun. Serial and Cereal are pronounced the same.

    Serial killer -> someone who murders many people on separate occasions
    Cereal -> a breakfast food made from grain, e,g, cornflakes.

    "I could murder something" Idiom used where the "something" is not alive = I have a great desire for something.
    So the pun would be interpreted to mean someone who has a great desire for eating cereal, instead of cereal being a killer? I understand this expression is intended to be a joke. :)
     

    Karmana

    New Member
    English - England
    "You know, I love eating and I eat anything. I'm a food killer."
    It does sound like you would be killing food. So in the context he would want it read, it needs altering. If one was to stress how ravenous they are, they could state something like "murder a bacon sandwich" would be more apt. To generalise as "murdering food" would be odd.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It does sound like you would be killing food. So in the context he would want it read, it needs altering. If one was to stress how ravenous they are, they could state something like "murder a bacon sandwich" would be more apt. To generalise as "murdering food" would be odd.
    Does it mean it's possible to say "bacon sandwich murderer", so long as the food is specific? :)
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    When I read it my reaction was that it didn't make sense, rather than perceiving a meaning.
    And I opened the thread because it aroused my curiosity. My initial take was it was some term used in zoology to define animals that secure their food by killing, e.g. wolves. :D
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Does that refer to someone "killing" (devouring) cereal, or does that refer to cereal being the killer (as in a work of fiction)?
    The cereal would be the victim. The killer would be the person who eats it.
    Does it mean it's possible to say "bacon sandwich murderer", so long as the food is specific? :)
    No. We do not tend to describe people who "kill" or "murder" cereal or sandwiches "killers" or "murderers". It only works as a joke because of the serial/cereal pun.
    But we do talk of, for example, child killers. When we do, we usually mean someone who kills children (and it is this version that lies behind the "cereal killer" joke), but it could also mean a child who kills (and this version does not fit the cereal killer context - cereal does not usually kill you).
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    As an aside, it is my impression that "murder a [serving of food]" is UK English. I have never heard it in the US, and the first time I read it was in the Sandman comic series; it was immediately understandable, but it struck me as one of Neil Gaiman's attempts at writing dialog for Americans that fell just a little short.
     

    Karmana

    New Member
    English - England
    I agree it is most certainly UK English as you will often find many people (at least in the South West) who will often say "I could murder a cup of tea!". Only giving emphasis to how thirsty they are and in no way wanting to literally bludgeon or stab a cup and saucer!

    The imagery of this is amusing =)
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    someone who has a huge appetite for food. - In BE, we sometimes say such a person is a gannet (A gannet is a sea-bird known for eating great quantities of fish.) They can also be referred to as "He's a black hole for food."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Does it mean it's possible to say "bacon sandwich murderer", so long as the food is specific? :)

    I wouldn't use that. I might say, "He really murdered that bacon sandwich". I think that would be understood to mean he devoured the entire sandwich which great relish.
     

    Rhye

    Senior Member
    English - American
    It seems most of the Americans who have chimed in accept "murdering" a food as devouring it, but that probably wouldn't be my first thought. I would probably think that it would be used in a situation where someone had really made a mess of the food while eating it, and left it in a sad, unpleasant state. But maybe that's just me.
     
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