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What a squash!

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Silver, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Silver

    Silver 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
  2. owlman5

    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.
  3. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I am familiar with this usage
    as well as squash as a drink or cordial
    (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):

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  4. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    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.]
  5. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    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.
  6. paul f Senior Member

    Lyon, France
    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.
  7. suzi br

    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!
  8. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    A quick check in our dictionary: it puts them in the same order that I learnt them.
  9. perpend

    perpend Banned

    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.
  10. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I've read (never actually heard this) "What a crush!" used in these circumstances.
  11. Loob

    Loob 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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