Catch Word #114 –To sell like hotcakes

Here’s an episode all about popular items. The expressions we talk about are used when something is in demand, which means that people are buying a lot of it. You can use these expressions to talk about the trendiest items of the moment. For example, new Apple products always sell like hot cakes. They can’t seem to make them fast enough! Listen to this episode and learn more about these expressions and others.

Expressions included in the learning materials

  • Drop someone a line
  • To sell like hotcakes
  • To line up around the block
  • To fly off the shelves
  • Tickle Me Elmo
  • The Hunger Games
  • They can’t make them fast enough
  • To keep up
  • To crave
  • You betcha
  • What
  • What can you do?

Sample transcript

Maura: Let’s get started. What is our first expression?

Harp: Our first expression is to sell like hotcakes.

Maura: Right. To sell like hotcakes.

Harp: Yes. To sell like hotcakes.

Maura: So, we use this expression to describe something. We would say “It is selling like hotcakes.” Or “It was selling like hotcakes.”

Harp: Yes. So when you have something that is really popular and people are buying it really quickly and buying a lot of it and it’s really popular, you can use this expression, selling like hotcakes.

Maura: Right. Now, hotcakes… Hmm, what are hotcakes?

Harp: Hotcakes are pancakes.

Maura: Right. So hotcakes is just another word for pancakes and it’s not used as often as pancakes. Hotcakes is a bit of an older word.

Harp: Yeah. Most people say pancakes, but they mean the same thing.

Maura: Right. So, if we imagine that in the past, at a special event like a fair or some kind of community gathering, there would be a person who was making hotcakes and selling them and they were very popular. So lots of people would buy them, they were in high demand. Well, that’s where the origin of this expression is supposed to have come from.

Harp: OK. That makes sense.

Maura: Right. So now we can use this expression, selling like hotcakes, to talk about a whole variety of items. And usually this expression is not used to talk about food.

Harp: Yeah. It’s usually an object, not food.

Maura: Right. So this expression originated from the popularity of hotcakes, or pancakes, and now we use this expression to talk about some kind of item that people love and they buy a lot of.

Podcast/ Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast