(As) Easy As Pie – Meaning, Origin

Meaning:

If something is “as easy as pie,” that means it is simple to do. It’s a job or task that is easy, requiring little effort; a piece of cake.

Example: My friend wanted to get a pet, but he was stumped on whether he should go with a dog or a cat. I suggested a cat based on my experience, because I find them to be as easy as pie to care for.

Note: This phrase is commonly used as a simile, so the word “as” will often precede it.

Synonyms: a piece of cake, a walk in the park, easy-peasy lemon squeezy

It's as easy as pie.
I could go for a slice of pie right about now.

The Origin of ‘Easy as Pie’

This phrase may come from the pleasantness and ease involved when eating a delicious pie. A similar expression to this one is ‘a piece of cake,’ both expressions not only share the same meaning, but they may also have similar origin stories.

During the 19th century, the word ‘pie’ was used to describe someone who acted kindly to another person. Let’s look at an example of that. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1885, take a look at how the word ‘pie’ was used:

“You’re always as polite as pie to them.”

Two years later, the phrase can be seen in various newspapers, so it must have been a somewhat common phrase at that time. This example comes from The Newport Mercury newspaper, 1887, where it reads:

“You see veuever I goes I takes away mit me a silverspoon or a knife or somethings, an’ I gets two or three dollars for them. It’s easy as pie. Vy don’t you try it?”

Thus this idiom goes back to at least the late 19th century.


Example Sentences

  • When deciding what to make myself for breakfast, I usually just go with a bowl of cereal since it’s easy as pie to make.
  • Janice never learned how to swim, so she has always had a fear of the water. However, she recently took swimming lessons and now she finds swimming to be as easy as pie; she is no longer afraid.

Note: The origins for many common idioms and phrases are unclear. In such cases, what I’ll usually do is list any plausible theories that exist that talk about how the phrase might have originated. If not that, then I’ll try to at least include the earliest known quotation of the saying. These quotes are there to give an idea on how far back in history the particular expression goes.


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