icing on the cake
icing on the cake
or frosting on the cake
Meaning | Synonyms
- when something good is added to another good thing that you already have
- an extra enhancement
- an additional benefit to an already good thing
- something that makes a good situation even better
- an attractive but often unessential addition to something
The idiom can be used in a sarcastic manner meaning that something bad has been added to an already bad situation.
- Everyone expected him to do well in the exams. Getting first rank was the icing on the cake.
- He was happy to have his first book published. All those congratulatory messages and fan-mail that came in were the icing on the cake.
- The sportsman was already on a high after having won at the competition, the frosting on the cake was when the government announced a huge cash reward for is achievement.
- He was already happy with his pay hike, the icing on the cake came when he received a large bonus.
- Winning the race was a feat in itself, creating a world record was the icing on the cake.
- The hotel was very nice and we enjoyed our stay there. The icing on the cake was when they gave a complimentary voucher for a two day stay which we could redeem on out next visit.
- The fact that my car broke down was just the icing on the cake. My day had already been a disaster.
- After the nightmare of a party, my son vomited everywhere. It was the icing on the cake.
The phrase refers to the sweet, creamy toppings, called the icing, added to a cake to make it even better. It has been in use since the mid 1900s.
The idiom can be used in both a positive and negative manner, depending on the intonation.
Icing or frosting, has been around for hundreds of years. Initially, people would enjoy cake without frosting because refined sugar was very expensive. The cake in itself was already a treat. If icing was added, the event would be even more special. Thus, an already good situation was further enhanced. The word "frosting" has been used since the 1600s to describe the act of covering a cake in a sugary, buttery coating.
The first example of the idiom being used in a figurative sense comes from "The Sin of Pat Muldoon" written by playwrightJohn McLiamin 1957.
There are sins and there are sing, but the sins I speak of are the chocolate icing on the cake of life.et