cup of tea
Guess what this idiom means

to sell like hotcakes

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to sell quickly and in large volumes

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

To sell like hotcakes’ means a product is being sold extremely quickly and to lots of people. The product is popular and perhaps there is a risk it could run out.

This idiom comes from the United States, where the word ‘hotcakes’, another word for pancakes, was first used in the nineteenth century. These hotcakes were extremely popular at festivals and similar events.

French translation

se vendre comme des petits pains

How NOT to translate : *se vendre comme des crêpes


Examples in context

‘Apple Could Trap You Forever With Its New ’Upgrade Program’

It’s not enough that Apple wants us to buy a new phone every year. Now it seems to want a little bit of our soul, too.

Apple’s updated batch of iPhones will hit shelves next week. They’re expected to sell like hotcakes, because they always do, and if you want to get your hands on one, there are more options than ever. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T are offering installment plans, as well as discounts to people who opt into new contracts — and, in a new twist, Apple’s hoping to rope consumers into a little plot of its own.’

The Huffington Post, 16 September 2015


‘Great British Bake Off format selling like hotcakes with versions in 13 countries around world

Hit show The Great British Bake Off is selling like hotcakes to TV companies around the world.

The BBC is celebrating a baker’s dozen – after licensing the popular format in 13 countries.

And the latest to buy the concept dreamt up by Love Productions is Germany, where the programme will be known as Das Grosse Backen.’

The Mirror, 7 October 2013


Everyday usage

She is a very successful author ; her books are selling like hotcakes at the moment.

This product is very efficient, and we predict that it will sell like hotcakes.

b) to sell despite problems with the product

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) to sell slowly

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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