It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be


If something is not all it’s cracked up to be, that means it was a disappointment. It failed to meet expectations.

Example: A new restaurant opened up in town and people are saying the food there is amazing! Tom is feeling mighty hungry, so he decided to pay a visit to this restaurant to see what all the commotion was about. After finishing his meal, what’s his verdict? Tom says: “The food… it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” In other words, he was disappointed.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
It’s not all that
It doesn’t live up to the hype

The Origin Of “It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be”

When you hear the word “cracked,” you probably think of something that’s been damaged. For instance, dropping your phone on the ground could result in the screen getting cracked. However, with the expression “it’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” this particular word has a different meaning.

In other parts of the world, such as Ireland, the word “crack” or “craic” can mean things like news, gossip, or fun. Some might also define it as “banter” or “to talk.” That last definition fits the expression especially well, because this phrase is basically a way of saying that something isn’t all it’s talked up/cracked up to be.

Anyways, the earliest I could find of this expression in print is from the year 1835. A politician named Davy Crockett is quoted as having used the phrase. When commenting on someone running for president, he said:

“Martin Van Buren is not the man he is cracked up to be.”

Example Sentences

  1. Ashley recommended me one of her favorite movies. We tend to have similar film tastes, so I was excited to see it, especially because she hyped it up so much. However, after watching the movie, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Note: The origins for most phrases and sayings cannot be said with a certainty. What’s provided are theories that may be plausible to how a phrase originated, but not necessarily so. 
In addition, quotes that contain a particular phrase may be taken from old newspapers, poems, or books that were written centuries ago, but this by no means confirms that the phrase originates from said newspapers, poems, or books. In all likelihood, if an expression is being used in a newspaper, it’s probably already a well known saying and is from an older time.

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