4 questionable comparisons in idioms

Idioms are great. Whenever you want to convey something, but are too lazy to form your own sentences, you just whip out an idiom and it’s all crystal clear. Easy as pie!

Nevertheless, idioms aren’t always straightforward. Some idioms make perfect sense. For example, it’s, like, so easy to take candy from a baby! I could literally do it with my eyes closed. Seriously, babies have really shitty motor skills, all you have to do is just wait until they drop it.

Yet some idioms use comparisons that seem really far-fetched, or just pure wrong. Let me complain about those for a while.

Side note: Yes, I know that most idioms have clear origins and explanations. I too have access to the Internet and know how to type. All I’m questioning is their relevance and usage in an average conversation. Also, shut up, nobody likes a smart-ass. Which is why I have so few friends…now you’ve made me depressed.

4. Happy as a clam

What?! How do you even tell if a clam is happy? Do they smile? If they do, holy crap that’s creepy! For this reference to really hit home we have to assume that clams on the whole are happier than most other living things. Who surveyed the clam population to establish this fact? More importantly – can I have their job?

Aaaaw just look at him! So happy and peaceful!

3. Cool as a cucumber

That’s right, we all know cucumbers are smooth operators. I dare you to try scare a cucumber and see what happens. Nothing is what happens! It’s a freaking vegetable, it has no ability to show emotion. If “cool” refers to temperature, then how did someone come up with this specific comparison? Are cucumbers notoriously poor conductors of heat? Because I’ve never heard anyone say “This man is having a heat stroke. Quick, beat him with cucumbers!” On a side note, I think I’ve just inadvertently invented a new reality ER show that I’d be more than willing to watch.

2. Dead as a door-nail

I sort of see the logic here. Door-nails don’t move or breathe, just like dead people. You know what else doesn’t move or breathe? Literally any inanimate object you can find. Your table? Dead! Your toothbrush? Dead! Your bed? So very dead! You’re surrounded by death, yet you go on about your business, oblivious to those poor door-nails and their struggles. What kind of monster are you?!

1. Sleep like a baby

Holy shit! Really?! Have you ever seen a baby before? That analogy is on par with “healthy as a multiple gunshot victim”.

Now that’s more like it!

If you’re trying to talk about how great you’ve slept babies are definitely the last thing you should be bringing up. Try comparing your sleep to something more calm and reserved. Like a cucumber, or something.

There are many more dubious idioms, but these are my picks for today. How about you? Do you hate some idioms? Do you hate some idiots? Are idiots as thick as bricks?

39 thoughts on “4 questionable comparisons in idioms

    • As I said…nobody likes a smart-ass. Also, someone else pointed this out months ago, yet I haven’t changed it. If that doesn’t convince you that I’m lazy I don’t know what will.


  1. Well, my bed is actually very-much alive, as are my door-nails.

    My favorite idiom is “cool as the other side of the pillow,” which is very accurate. I love flipping over my pillow… it is like getting into bed for the first time!


    • That is indeed a pretty accurate comparison! Also…do I want to know more about your household furniture coming to live, or is that a plot of a future sci-fi horror movie?


  2. Chubby Chatterbox says:

    I just encountered this “dead as a doornail” reference in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Still seems strange to me. Great post though. You’ve squeezed a lot of humor from this.


  3. I once taught a death idioms class for some Japanese ESL students. “Pushing up daisies” and “taking a dirt nap” were easy. “Bought the farm,” “kicked the bucket,” “croaked,” “pegged out”… not so much.

    English is such a stupid language. I love it.


  4. abacnok says:

    Well, Daniel, being the thrid out of 10, I can attest to the “Sleep like a baby” idiom being “for the birds”. I had a good laugh reading your post, as well as the comments left. Keep ’em coming!


  5. You completely misunderstood number 4. The word clam was not referring to a mollusk; it was a reference to female genitalia, which we all know can make a man do almost anything. If you had that much power over men, then you’d be as happy as a pig in shit, too. And don’t even ask me to explain why pigs like feces.


    • Whoa…dude…mind = blown! That makes so much more sense – thanks for enlightening me. I’m gonna get to work making up my own genital-based idioms now! But what if I DO ask you about pigs and feces? Are you up to the challenge?


      • Jesse Chisholm says:

        re: “pigs in shit” — actually, pigs prefer to be quite clean. They only wallow in shit because we put them in small pens where they can’t get away from their own shit. If it is hot, they might roll in mud to get cool, if they can’t find clean water to get cool in. And if all the mud available to them is mixed with shit … what choice do we give them?

        re: “slept like a baby” clearly that refers to the period of time when the baby is actually asleep, not to the too frequent interruptions to that condition. And while a baby is asleep, s/he/it (trying to be inclusive here) is totally relaxed.


  6. want2bwriter says:

    Daniel, funny post my friend. Although you forgot a few classics that my Dad would often spout out, which in retrospect make a lot more sense than the ones you mentioned.

    1) Slicker than snot on a doorknob.
    2) Slicker than a whore on a bar stool.
    3) Sweatin’ like a whore in church.
    4) If a bullfrog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he jumped.
    5) Worthless as a tit on a boar hog.
    6) You’re about as handy as a back pocket on a shirt.
    7) You couldn’t carry a tune if he had a bucket with a lid on it.

    I’m sure there were many more, but that’s all I can think of for now.

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination


    • Ha! Those are some great sayings that get the point across much better than the standard idioms. My dad had a bunch of similarly awesome sayings. Unfortunately they are heavy on Russian puns and Russian slang, so translating them into English isn’t quite an option!

      Glad you liked the post!


  7. raeme67 says:

    Very funny post! 🙂 I was happy as a cucumber to read it. And pleased as soda pop to get away form the evil professor for awhile and laugh.


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