take the cake

take the cake


  1. a sweet, baked, breadlike food, made with or without shortening, and usually containing flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, eggs, and liquid flavoring.
  2. a flat, thin mass of bread, especially unleavened bread.
  3. pancake; griddlecake.
  4. a shaped or molded mass of other food: a fish cake.
  5. a shaped or compressed mass: a cake of soap; a cake of ice.
  6. Animal Husbandry. a compacted block of soybeans, cottonseeds, or linseeds from which the oil has been pressed, usually used as a feed or feed supplement for cattle.

verb (used with object), caked, cak·ing.

  1. to form into a crust or compact mass.

verb (used without object), caked, cak·ing.

  1. to become formed into a crust or compact mass.


  1. a piece of cake, Informal. something easily done: She thought her first solo flight was a piece of cake.
  2. take the cake, Informal.
    1. to surpass all others, especially in some undesirable quality; be extraordinary or unusual: His arrogance takes the cake.
    2. to win first prize.


  1. a baked food, usually in loaf or layer form, typically made from a mixture of flour, sugar, and eggs
  2. a flat thin mass of bread, esp unleavened bread
  3. a shaped mass of dough or other food of similar consistencya fish cake
  4. a mass, slab, or crust of a solidified or compressed substance, as of soap or ice
  5. have one’s cake and eat it to enjoy both of two desirable but incompatible alternatives
  6. go like hot cakes or sell like hot cakes informal to be sold very quickly or in large quantities
  7. piece of cake informal something that is easily achieved or obtained
  8. take the cake informal to surpass all others, esp in stupidity, folly, etc
  9. informal the whole or total of something that is to be shared or dividedthe miners are demanding a larger slice of the cake; that is a fair method of sharing the cake


  1. (tr) to cover with a hard layer; encrustthe hull was caked with salt
  2. to form or be formed into a hardened mass

v.c.1600, from cake (n.). Related: Caked; caking. n.early 13c., from Old Norse kaka “cake,” from West Germanic *kokon- (cf. Middle Dutch koke, Dutch koek, Old High German huohho, German Kuchen). Not now believed to be related to Latin coquere “to cook,” as formerly supposed. Replaced its Old English cognate, coecel. What man, I trow ye raue, Wolde ye bothe eate your cake and haue your cake? [“The Proverbs & Epigrams of John Heywood,” 1562] Originally (until early 15c.) “a flat, round loaf of bread.” Piece of cake “something easy” is from 1936. The let them eat cake story is found in Rousseau’s “Confessions,” in reference to an incident c.1740, long before Marie Antoinette, though it has been associated with her since c.1870; it apparently was a chestnut in the French royal family that had been told of other princesses and queens before her. To be the most outstanding; sometimes used in a derogatory sense: “When it comes to eating like a pig, Gordy really takes the cake.” Be the most outstanding in some respect, either the best or the worst. For example, That advertising slogan really took the cake, or What a mess they made of the concert—that takes the cake! This expression alludes to a contest called a cakewalk, in which a cake is the prize. Its figurative use, for something either excellent or outrageously bad, dates from the 1880s. see eat one’s cake and have it, too; flat as a pancake; icing on the cake; nutty as a fruitcake; piece of cake; sell like hot cakes; slice of the pie (cake); take the cake.

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