What a squash!


Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect

My teacher tells me the expression "what a squash" can be used to mean a place is crowded, but is it idiomatic?

I know squash is a kind of drink, isn't it? And also has something to do with pumpkins.

Thanks a lot
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    It sure isn't anything I hear people say in my part of the world, Silver. I'd probably understand the remark in context, but it would sound strange.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I am familiar with this usage
    1 a state of being squashed.
    as well as squash as a drink or cordial
    Brit. a concentrated liquid made from fruit juice and sugar, diluted to make a drink.
    (Quotes from the WR Dictionary.) I'm aware that the latter is BrE ('punch' in AmE?), but I thought that the former was available in AmE too.

    Here's an example from the BNC (British National Corpus):

    It was rather a squash at my nana's house because mum, and I had to share a bedroom.
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    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    And also has something to do with pumpkins.
    That was a joke when I was a child:

    Do you know how to make a pumpkin into a squash?

    You throw it up into the air and it comes down 'squash'.
    [=squashed when it hits the ground].

    I suspect that you have to be a child to think it's funny.

    [In real life, a pumpkin is a kind of squash. Maybe that is what you are thinking of.]


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    My teacher tells me the expression "what a squash" can be used to mean a place is crowded, but is it idiomatic?
    I agree with Owlman; the expression isn't used in my part of the US, either. We do used the verb with a similar meaning, e.g.: There were eighteen or twenty of us squashed into that elevator. It has the same meaning, in this context, as crammed.

    paul f

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is certainly idiomatic in my (BrE) book, and is used frequently enough to be considered current. I dont think it would, in my circles, draw any confused looks. I also hear "what a squeeze!" in similar contexts.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Squash as a tight fit was the first meaning I knew for this word. Its usage is very common in the middle of the UK.

    The vegetable meaning is one I only just learnt in recent years. In a childish way it still makes me smile!


    American English
    There's a clear consensus that "what a squash" is normal in BE, but just one last chime-in that you can't use it in AE that way.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Just a minor dissenting BrE voice. "Squash" works for me to mean that somewhere is crowded, and I wouldn't have any difficulty with "it was a bit of a squash", or Nat's "it was rather a squash".

    I can't, though, imagine saying the precise sentence "What a squash!" I seldom use "What an X!" and when I do use it, it's usually with a more-or-less set expression like "What an idiot!" or "What a bastard!"
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