I've never gotten why...

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DrunknFox

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Unless it's Zebra cake. I'll be damned if anyone has one of my zebra cakes... I work hard for my cakes!
 

AEsahaettr

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Here's another one I asked my fiancee a week or so ago. Sing with me:

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer...

Yes, I do recall Rudolph. Want to know why? Because he's the most famous reindeer of all. And I don't know much about the other eight reindeer, the exceptions being what I learned from the The Santa Clause trilogy and, with a touch of irony, the classic stop-motion animation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Make up a song about Blitzen. I don't know a goddamn thing about Blitzen.
 

Wazzle

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I always thought it was "you can have your cake and eat it too"
 

AEsahaettr

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I always thought it was "you can have your cake and eat it too"

Opposite, dlCherub had it right. The idea of the saying is basically that you can't have everything you want.

---------- Post added at 05:28 ---------- Previous post was at 05:28 ----------

Interesting thought.

Say someone tells you that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Are you allowed to choose 'eat it' and screw 'having it'?
 
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ABoy

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you can't have your cake and eat it too

I have never heard this before, but the second I read it I thought to myself,"well then, it can be your cake because I am eating it!" Yeah that really does not make much sense. I feel like it is one of those phrases created when a little boy is complaining that he wants something but will not do anything for it. Eventually the mother can't take it and yells something about sitting down and cake. It does not necessarily make sense anyone other than a mother :p but I could be wrong, and I probably am.
 

AEsahaettr

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No, that's how I usually encountered the saying in my childhood.

My Mom also liked to say "One hand washes the other" when trying to instill me with a sense of helping out around the house. I thought it sounded like one person should do the work and the other reaps the benefits. She didn't like it when I raised that as a possible interpretation. My dad would chuckle.
 

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I remember being in a philosophy lecture with a hundred other people, listening to an intense monologue on some intricate concept or other... When the lecturer declared that he might have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, I absolutely howled with laughter... before I noticed that no one else found it funny and every single one of those hundred faces were staring at me... Well... I certainly hadn't heard that one before...
 

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If you have to have the cake to eat it then you can never eat it.
Maybe that's what Ratman meant by the cake is a lie.
 

ade

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Opposite, dlCherub had it right. The idea of the saying is basically that you can't have everything you want.
i'm agreeing with something along those lines. i've always interpreted it as meaning.......well, meaness, on the part of the giver; it being that the cake is given to you, but you aren't allowed to eat it. life is often mean in the choices we're presented with.

i'm actually a bit of a newbie to the phrase, or i think i am. i tried recalling it having been used during my childhood and i couldn't. so, digging out my copy of Everyday Phrases, a 1983 publication, that used to reside next to Nonsense Poetry, i looked for it's reference. it's not in. makes you wonder what the contemporary history of it's usage is?
 

GoldDragonAurkarm

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^^ Dunno. Maybe it's just an American thing. I grew up hearing that phrase all the time, everywhere. It's in very common usage, at least in Michigan. I mean, I had to look up "Bob's your uncle" the first time I heard it (watching Doctor Who, IIRC), since that phrase just doesn't exist here.
 

wsherwood

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I went to school for engineering not philosophy so I'm probably way off, but I've always thought this saying related to hard work and sacrifices. One often has to work hard and sacrifice things about themselves to achieve the things they want, wealth, status, etc (your cake). Consequently, all that hard work and sacrifice can get in the way of enjoying your achievements (eating your cake).
 

NabePup

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I've heard the cake saying a lot ("You can't have your cake and eat it too). I agree with the idea that it's referring to the fact that it's not possible to eat your cake and then to continue "having" it. For instance, if you buy a can of Cola that your planning on drinking, it will be gone after you drink it. I always thought this was referring to the fact that you often need to compromise and make sacrifices in life.

Another saying that makes absolutely no sense to me is "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". I honestly have absolutely no idea how to interpret this saying.

Although when it comes down to semantics like this, I always think of Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother (encyclo-peeeh-dia). It doesn't really matter and I think calling someone out on it is a pretentious thing to do, although it is fun to do, lol.
 
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I think it's more like "the icing of the cake" is like " you can't always get what you want". For instance, icing obviously makes the cake more decadent; but we always think beauty it what we create, regardless of knowing that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" ( who said that?). Nevertheless, human nature gravitates towards understanding our "idea" of "beauty", be it wild or our own tame kingdom of icon human marketing; we all see it as it makes us feel beautiful too. (4 agreements, don miguel ruiz)
 

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People once believed that Queen Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake" and that saying became very popular at one point or another and I believe that that is where the whole 'have your cake and eat it too' thing came from. Could be wrong though.
 

DylanK

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Another saying that makes absolutely no sense to me is "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". I honestly have absolutely no idea how to interpret this saying.
It's better to have something you own that does the job (a bird you've caught that will feed you) than to long after something that will do the job better but is out of your reach right now (2 birds that are hiding and would feed your family).
People once believed that Queen Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake" and that saying became very popular at one point or another and I believe that that is where the whole 'have your cake and eat it too' thing came from. Could be wrong though.
Actually she said 'if they want bread give them the good stuff' in regard to rioting outside of the Bastille that she couldn't really comprehend, 'let them eat cake' is a mistranslation. I think the ability to either have ones cake or to have eaten it has an origin from an English spoken source.
 

Neonite

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If you eat a cake, you no longer have it. You can't have a cake and have eaten that same cake.

...And now cake no longer looks like a word.
 

Zephy

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If you eat a cake, you no longer have it. You can't have a cake and have eaten that same cake.

I don't think the meaning of the saying is what's in question. The confusing part is the literal sense; what is the point in "having" the cake if you aren't going to eat it? Cakes don't last very long before going stale, so there's really not much reason to save it. Why would you want to "have" the cake AND eat it? You might as well just eat it, before it goes bad. That brings it back to my belief that the saying refers to a time when cakes weren't just store-bought, meaningless things, and that on the one hand, you wanted to eat it, but on the other, you wish you could preserve the personalized gift for years to come (like a beautiful wedding cake). It doesn't make as much now when you can just go to the store and buy a generic cake, but I could understand it in a historical context.

Another saying that makes absolutely no sense to me is "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". I honestly have absolutely no idea how to interpret this saying.

"A bird in the hand" is a bird that you have already caught. You can pluck it and eat it, and it can be of use to you. You already have it, so it is a guaranteed bird. 2 in the bush are birds that you could potentially catch, but that could get away. It's basically saying to play things safe is as good as taking a chance. It's usually a way to say it's better to take the guaranteed route than to take a chance where you end up with nothing, since the choices are of equal value, but the one guarantees you get something from your choice.
 

ade

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Another saying that makes absolutely no sense to me is "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". I honestly have absolutely no idea how to interpret this saying.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Re: You can't have your cake and eat it

here's the 'original' (as far as i know) original phrase, in it's context:

Yee never could yet, (quoth shee), recover any hap,
To win or save ought, to stoppe any one gap.
For stopping of gap, (quoth he), care not a rush.
I will learne to stop two gaps with one bush.
Yee will, (quoth shee), as soone stop gaps with rushes
As with any husbandly handsom bushes.
Your tales have lyke tast, where temprance is taster,
To breake my head, and then geve me a plaster.
Now thrift is gone, now would yee thrive in all haste,
And whan yee had thrift, yee had lyke hast to waste.
Yee liked then better an ynch of your will,
Than an ell of your thrift. Wife, (quoth he), be still
May I be holpe foorth an ynch at a pinch,
I will yet thrive, (I say), as good is an ynch
As an ell. Yee can, (quoth shee), make it so well,
For when I gave you an inch, you tooke an ell,
Till both ell and inch be gone, and we in det
Nay, (quoth he), with a wet finger ye can set
As much as may easily all this matter ease,
And this debate also pleasantly appease.
I could doo as much with an hundred pounds now,
With a wet finger.
As with a thowsand afore, I assure you.

Yea, (quoth she), who had that he hath not, would
Doo that hee doth not, as old men have told.
Had I as yee have I would do more (quoth hee)
Than the Priest spake of on Sunday, yee should see.
Ye doo, as I have, (quoth shee), for nought I have,
And nought yee doo. What man ! I trow yee rave.
Would yee both eat your cake, and have your cake ?
Yee have had of mee al that I would make ;
And bee a man never so greedy to win,
Hee can have no more of the foxe but the skin.
Well, (quoth he), if ye list to bring it out,
Yee can geve me your blessing in a cloute.
That were for my childe, (quoth she), had I ony,
But husband, I have neither child nor mony.
Yee cast and conjecture thus much, lyke in show,
As the blind man casts his staffe, or shootes at the crow.
 
B

Blaze

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However, if I had to pick out one quandary in the way of English peculiarities, I absolutely cringe when people say, "I could care less". Well, if you are trying to express apathy, shouldn't you say "I couldn't care less"? Otherwise, the only conclusion the listener could logically reach is that you do care somewhat, thereby negating the existence of apathy. It drives me nuts! ><

Phew, I thought I was going nuts... I always hear people using it, and have never gotten why they said could instead of couldn't. I just assumed it was either some kind of reference, or some kind of slang, because so many people said it in a way that made absolutely no sense.

I mean, I had to look up "Bob's your uncle" the first time I heard it (watching Doctor Who, IIRC), since that phrase just doesn't exist here.

It doesn't exist here either, and you just made me look it up.


Anyway, reading through some of the suggestions in this thread, I'm thinking that maybe the saying just doesn't make any sense at all. Or, to make yet another Portal reference, it could just be a lie.
 
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