Eggheads, couch potatoes, tough cookies: eight English food idioms

The number of categories for English idioms is seemingly endless. We have weather idioms, where we might hear that it’s raining cats and dogs; colour idioms (such as ‘green as the grass’ or ‘blue in the face’); animal idioms; money idioms … the list goes on.

Food, being as popular as it is, also provides its fair share of idioms.

The big cheese and the top banana are similar and indeed might describe the same person, but they’re not quite the same in meaning. A couch potato might be lazy, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad apple!

Below you can see eight fun and colourful food idioms from the guys at Kaplan International Colleges. If you’re a studious egghead when it comes to learning English, you may already know all eight of them!

English food idioms

Do you have any similar food idioms in your language? Let me know in the comments section below.

Want to learn more food idioms? Try our free Food Idioms course (B2 / upper-intermediate)

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. Follow Stuart and contact him by subscribing to his monthly newsletter.


  1. Max Perez - June 10, 2013, 1:32 am Reply

    Stuart always trying to come up with something new, hehehe. This is why I think this is the best site to learn english. You’re doing an Amazing Job Stuart, keep up the good work.

  2. sam - June 13, 2013, 9:18 am Reply

    we call stupid guy carrot or pear

    • Stuart Cook - June 16, 2013, 8:50 pm Reply

      And what do you call clever guys, Sam?

      • sam - June 22, 2013, 1:30 pm Reply

        I don’t think we call clever guys sth including foods

  3. sam - June 13, 2013, 9:23 am Reply

    kachi(a worthless food) is better than nothing

  4. caroline leahy - August 1, 2013, 5:52 pm Reply

    I love these images although i had never heard of lemon law before.
    I’ve linked them to a lesson i’ve posted about teaching idioms through Vine – the app that loops a 6sec film.
    These will make a great addition to the lesson – thanks

    Here’s the link…

    • Stuart Cook - August 2, 2013, 2:56 pm Reply

      Thanks, Caroline
      Yes, it should be noted that lemon law is a food idiom that’s not heard very often.

      I like your use of Vine in lessons, by the way 🙂

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