bowl of cherries: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘bowl of cherries’ mean?

The idiom bowl of cherries is used to convey the idea that something is very pleasant or enjoyable. It is often used sarcastically to express a contradictory situation that is not as good as it appears to be.

Idiom Explorer

Unveiling the Delightful Symbolism

The idiom "bowl of cherries" is a common English expression that portrays something as easy, enjoyable, or pleasant. This phrase is often used in the context of "life is not a bowl of cherries," which expresses the opposite sentiment, implying that life is challenging or difficult. It is believed that this idiom originated in the United States during the early 20th century.

The exact origin of the idiom is uncertain, but there are a few theories regarding its roots. One theory suggests that the idiom may have derived from cherries being easily and joyfully consumed, representing something uncomplicated and pleasant. Another theory suggests that it may have emerged from the association of the American dessert cherry pie with happiness and enjoyment.

While the idiom "bowl of cherries" is commonly used, its popularity has varied over time. It was particularly favored in the mid-20th century but has since become less frequently employed. Nevertheless, it continues to be recognized and understood by English speakers, especially in the United States.

The idiom is often metaphorically used to describe different aspects of life or situations. For instance, one might use it to convey that a particular job or task is easy or enjoyable, implying that it is like a "bowl of cherries." On the contrary, the idiom can also be employed sarcastically or ironically to suggest that something is not as pleasant or simple as it initially seems.

The bowl was filled with bright red cherries.

The idiom "bite of the cherry" is related to "bowl of cherries." Used primarily in British English, this expression refers to an opportunity to try or experience something. It highlights the idea of having a chance to enjoy the sweet and satisfying experience that cherries offer. In a broader sense, it signifies having the opportunity to engage in something delightful or advantageous.

The idiom "peaches and cream" is another related expression. It is used to describe something that is perfect, smooth, or flawless. In the context of "bowl of cherries," it resonates with the notion of cherries being sweet and delicious. This idiom implies that whatever is being described, whether it's a situation or an outcome, is wonderful and without any faults or difficulties.

The idiom "cherry-pick" is also associated with "bowl of cherries." It is often used when one selectively chooses or selects the best or most desirable options out of a larger selection or group. This idiom draws a parallel to picking the ripest and juiciest cherries out of a bowl, leaving behind those that are not as appealing. It implies a preference for the best or most advantageous choices.

Lastly, the idiom "bowl a googly" is related to "bowl of cherries." Used predominantly in cricket, this expression refers to a type of delivery by a bowler that is deceptive or difficult to hit by the batsman. In the context of "bowl of cherries," it communicates the idea that not everything is as easy or straightforward as it may appear. It suggests that unexpected challenges or obstacles may arise, much like a deceptive delivery in cricket.

The idiom "bowl of cherries" is a well-known expression in English. It represents something as easy, enjoyable, or pleasant. Although its exact origin is unknown, it is believed to have emerged in the United States during the early 20th century. While its popularity has fluctuated over time, it remains recognized and commonly used in modern English. This idiom is often used metaphorically to describe various aspects of life or situations and can also be employed sarcastically or ironically. Its related idioms, such as "bite of the cherry," "peaches and cream," "cherry-pick," and "bowl a googly," add further nuances and associations to the concept of cherries and contribute to the richness of the English language.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "bowl of cherries" can be used in a sentence:

  1. Life is not always a bowl of cherries; sometimes it can be quite challenging.
  2. He thought retirement would be a bowl of cherries, but soon realized it came with its own set of difficulties.
  3. Don't be fooled by appearances, the glamorous life of celebrities is not always a bowl of cherries.

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