a piece of cake//easy as pies

Discussion in 'English Only' started by swayingrass, May 12, 2008.

  1. swayingrass Banned

    I was asked to accomplish this task within three days. It will be a piece of cake for me.
    ... as easy as pies ...
    ... very easy ...

    I presume all of the above mean pretty much the same, but why do the first two versions mean "very easy?' That is, why does "a piece of cake" or "as eay as pies" connote the meaning of "very easy?" Do they imply that cakes or pies are very easy to eat? Thanks.
  2. lady_luck Senior Member

    Kolkata, India
    India English/ French
    THAT'S A PIECE OF CAKE -- "Something that can be done easily and pleasurably. The light-verse writer Ogden Nash had this line in 'Primrose Path' (1936): 'Her picture's in the papers now, and life's a piece of cake.' The thought surely derives from the fact that for most people eating a piece of cake is easy and a pleasure." " From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
  3. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    The other phrase is "as easy as pie", by the way, not "pies".

    I am not sure why or how these phrases originated, but an internet search brings up many discussions of this topic on other sites.

    This, for example, gives a couple of possible explanations for the two phrases:


    "A piece of cake" seems to have been a WWII expression, but there is some disagreement over whether it originated in the UK or the US.

    Another site gives two possible origins for "as easy as pie", one being American and the other Australian.


    You can find many more discussions by typing piece of cake easy as pie into Google.
  4. mikichan Senior Member

    Do men use "a piece of cake" and "as easy as pie" just as often as women do?
    Are they used by all age groups?

    Thank you.
  5. theartichoke Senior Member

    English -- Canada
    "As easy as pie" sounds a bit dated to me. I can't imagine anyone under, say, 60 saying it. (Or it may be more BE than AE.)
    "A piece of cake," on the other hand, is more common, and I don't think one gender is more likely to say it than the other.
    I speak as a 40-something Canadian. Usage may vary.:)
  6. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with The Artichoke that "as easy as pie" is a bit dated. Yes, "a piece of cake" is used equally by men and women.

    Another phrase I've heard, but only from BE speakers, is "easy peasy". I don't hear it from my fellow AE speakers.
  7. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    English - US (Midwest)
    Hmmm.... I was going to say that I do hear it, but on second thought the one person who I know uses it is a transplanted Canadian.

    Along with pieces of cake and easy pies, there's also duck soup.
  8. englisheer Member

    English - Australian
    In Australia people around my age (31) and younger tend to just use "easy as". Not sure about older generations but at least up to late 30's. To be honest, I can't ever recall anyone saying either in full. I wouldn't however a more common saying here is "no worries" so perhaps that is why.

    "What'd you think?"

    • "Easy as"
    • "Simple as"
    • "Hard as"
    • "No worries"
    • "Piece of piss" (vulgar)
  9. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    I agree with Parla, post #6, for S. Ontario Canada. When I hear adults say 'easy peasy', I think they are talking baby talk, but apparently they don't think so.
  10. mikichan Senior Member

    Thank you everyone!

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