you cannot have your cake and eat it

You cannot consume or spend something and still keep possession of it: once the cake is eaten, it is gone. The positions of have and eat are often reversed.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs II. ix. L2 I trowe ye raue, Wolde ye bothe eate your cake, and haue your cake?

1611 J. DAVIES Scourge of Folly no. 271 A man cannot eat his cake and haue it stil.

1812 in R. C. Knopf Document Transcriptions of War of 1812 (1959) VI. 204 We cannot have our cake and eat it too.

1938 P. MCGUIRE Funeral in Eden ii. Not that the savages were especially savage. They have always been a sensitive people, and when they ate a man they probably felt genuinely sorry that they could not have their cake and eat it, so to speak.

2002 R. J. BERNSTEIN Radical Evil 32 Why does Kant allow himself to get entangled in such difficulties and paradoxes? It looks as if he wants to have his cake and eat it too!


Proverbs new dictionary.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • have your cake and eat it — phrase to have all the benefits of a situation when, in fact, having one thing means that you cannot have the other He wants to stay with his wife but still see his girlfriend – talk about having your cake and eating it! Thesaurus: to be in a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • have your cake and eat it — to have all the benefits of a situation when, in fact, having one thing means that you cannot have the other He wants to stay with his wife but still see his girlfriend – talk about having your cake and eating it! …   English dictionary

  • you cannot eat your cake and have it — you cannot get everything you want, it is not possible to achieve every dream you may have …   English contemporary dictionary

  • eat — see you are what you eat we must eat a peck of dirt before we die eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die he that would eat the fruit must climb the tree eat to live, not live to eat the cat would eat fish, b …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • have — see what you have, hold you cannot have your cake and eat it the more you get, the more you want nothing venture, nothing have what you spend, you have you can have too much of a good thing …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • cake — see you cannot have your cake and eat it …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • eat — W1S1 [i:t] v past tense ate [et, eıt US eıt] past participle eaten [ˈi:tn] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(food)¦ 2¦(meal)¦ 3 eat your words 4 eat your heart out 5 eat somebody alive/eat somebody for breakfast 6¦(use)¦ 7 eat humble pie …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cake — [ keık ] noun *** 1. ) count or uncount a sweet food made by baking a mixture that usually contains sugar, eggs, flour, and butter or oil: a chocolate cake a birthday/wedding/Christmas cake a piece/slice of cake: Would you like a slice of cake?… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cake — 1 /keIk/ noun 1 (C, U) a soft sweet food made by baking a mixture of flour, fat, sugar and eggs: a birthday cake | Would you like a slice of chocolate cake? compare biscuit 2 fish cake/rice cake etc fish, rice etc that has been formed into a flat …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • have — [ weak əv, həv, strong hæv ] (3rd person singular has [ weak əz, həz, strong hæz ] ; past tense and past participle had [ weak əd, həd, strong hæd ] ) verb *** Have can be used in the following ways: as an auxiliary verb in perfect tenses of… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.