If something is “as easy as pie,” that means it’s simple; a job or task that is easy to do; a piece of cake.
Example: My friend never had a pet cat before. He wanted to get one, but he was worried about how much work it would be to care for it. I told him that caring for a cat is as easy as pie.
Note: This phrase is commonly used as a simile, so the word “as” often precedes it.
The Origin of ‘Easy as Pie’
This phrase may come from the pleasantness and ease when it comes to eating a pie. Another expression similar to this one is ‘a piece of cake,’ both expressions share the same meaning.
During the 19th century, the word ‘pie’ was used to describe someone as being delightful or to depict something as being easy. For example, in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1885, the word ‘pie’ was used as a nice remark:
“You’re always as polite as pie to them.”
Two years later, the phrase is seen in various newspapers. For instance, in The Newport Mercury newspaper, 1887, there’s a part that 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.
- When I think about what to make myself for breakfast in the morning, oftentimes I just go with a bowl of cereal since it’s easy as pie to make.
- Janice has always been afraid of water because she doesn’t know how to swim. However, after taking swimming lessons, she’s no longer afraid and finds swimming to be as easy as pie.
Note: The origins for many common idioms and phrases are unclear. Thus, when that happens, I’ll usually just list some of the popular or plausible theories that exist for how a phrase may have originated. Or, if not that, then I’ll try to find the earliest known written quote of the saying.
Quotes will often be taken from old books, newspapers, poems, plays. These are to give an idea on how far back in history the particular expression goes. However, do not assume that if I, for example, quote a newspaper from 1852, that the idiom originates from that time. Indeed, since the expression is already being used by the newspaper, then it’s probably already a well established expression, and is thus older.