It’s always frustrating when plans get cancelled at the last minute. So don’t be a flake and bail on this episode, because today we’re talking all about breaking plans and the people we trust only to be untrustworthy.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the first known use of the term flake was in 1964, and likely comes from the expression flake out.
Expressions included in the learning materials
- A flake
- To bail/to bail on
- To dis/a dis
Morag: In today’s episode, we are going to talk about two casual expressions you can use when you cancel a plan, or when somebody else cancels a plan on you.
Andrew: That is exactly right. Today, we’re doing a Catchword episode all about
cancelling plans, something that I love and hate at the same time.
Morag: It’s necessary sometimes, but real annoying.
Andrew: Definitely. Well, before we start, Morag, I’m going to ask you, what’s up? How are you doing?
Morag: Oh, right, yeah. Um, I’m doing pretty well, honestly. Ah, it was just my
birthday a couple days ago.
Andrew: No way, I didn’t know that. Happy birthday!
Morag: Yeah. Oh, thank you. I’m 27.
Andrew: You’re so young. I’m jealous.
Morag: For some reason, I feel like I’m in my late 20s now and it’s a different
feeling, I don’t know why.
Andrew: So it stung a little bit?
Morag: Ah, I don’t mind. It’s not bad, but it’s just, it feels like a next phase.
Andrew: Ah, OK. Well, that’s a good feeling, though.
Andrew: So what did you do to celebrate?
Morag: Oh, not terribly much. Mostly just got together with some buddies, had a picnic, went for a little hike, hung out.
Andrew: That sounds so good. See, my birthday is in May, and a spring birthday is
OK, but a summer birthday—come on, that’s the best.
Morag: Yeah, but in school I never got the happy birthday pencils or anything. I’m
going to be sore about that till the end of time.
Andrew: You should have just failed your class so you could have gone to summer
Morag: Oh, no. That’s two things fighting: My need to do well in school and my love of stationary and …
Andrew: Well, you can’t always win.
Morag: I know, right. Oh, dear.
Andrew: Anyway, let’s start with today’s episode. And we are—like you said— looking at two expressions that we use when talking about someone who cancels plans. And so our first expression is a flake.
Morag: I know some flakes and have been on occasion—OK, maybe more than on occasion, reasonably regularly—a flake myself.
Andrew: Yeah, I think everybody, at some point, is a flake.
Morag: Kind of flakey, yeah. Well, what it means is an unreliable person, somebody who you can’t trust to keep the plans that you have made with them. So sometimes that just means they’re really busy, or stressed, or something, but sometimes they’re just flakey to the core.
Andrew: Yeah, so, like you said, this expression, a flake, it’s actually a noun and it’s
a name that we call somebody who cancels plans at the last minute, and
usually does so regularly. If you cancel a plan just once, maybe it’s a little
strange to call you a flake, but if you make a habit of regularly cancelling
your plans that you’ve made with somebody, well, then we’re going to call
you a flake.
Morag: My best friend is a total flake.
Andrew: Oh, yeah?
Morag: Yeah. She’s the worst, definitely someone who, when you’re, like, yeah
we’re totally going to do that on Friday—never, nope. It’s just her personality, you know?
Andrew: Mmm, yeah. I think sometimes I am a flake, too. I really try not to be, but,
yeah, it does happen from time to time, I have to be honest.
Morag: Mmhmm, but maybe, you know, like we said, to be a flake you need to
reliably be unreliable, if that makes any sense.
Andrew: Yeah, I like that: Be reliably unreliable. Yeah, so if you consistently cancel
plans that you’ve made with somebody, like if you make a plan to meet your
friend for dinner, and then you cancel that plan, and then next week, you
make a plan with that friend to see a movie, but then you cancel that plan,
well, you’re acting like a flake. That’s something a flake would do.
Audio/Learning Materials: Culips English Learning Podcast