Sell Like Hotcakes

by Heather

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Twists & Turns of Phrase

When something sells like hotcakes it sells quickly and in large quantities.

I like a hotcake as much as the next person, but do they really sell that well?

Origins: They do sell that well, or at least they did at county fairs in the 1800s, which is where the saying first caught on. Soon this turn of phrase was being applied to all sorts of successful business ventures.

History: According to the OED, this phrase first cropped up in the United States in the early 19th century. For example, Charles Frederick Briggs used the phrase when he wrote The adventures of Harry Franco: “‘You had better buy ’em, Colonel,’ said Mr. Lummucks, ‘they will sell like hot cakes.’”

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