TAKING THE BISCUIT

Definition: When a situation that is already bad or irritating gets even worse

Example: When Joe’s car broke down in the pouring rain in the middle of nowhere, he discovered he’d forgotten to charge his phone as well. “That takes the biscuit!” was his response. Actually, there were some other words too, but we can’t publish them here.

Origin:

In the UK, a situation ‘takes the biscuit’.

In the US, the same situation ‘takes the cake’.

The idiom seems to have originated as cake Stateside before travelling across the Atlantic to become a biscuit. But why a cake in the first place?

It seems to have similar origins to ‘Piece of Cake’, which we have covered previously here. In that exploration, we heard of a demeaning slave state practice, where pairs of slaves were walked around a cake, and the pair deemed to have done so with the most style, won that cake. How the meaning went from a positive one (if you can see it that way, having won a cake through a demeaning contest) to a wholly negative one is unclear. Perhaps this isn’t the root of this idiom at all.

Iddy is blissfully ignorant of all of this. This particular biscuit will keep him fed for at least two meals. Now all he needs is a giant glass of milk or several litres of hot tea to go with it.