cupcake (it)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Apr 4 03:58:37 UTC 2006

New York Mets closer Billy Wagner on pitching for his new team on opening day:

"Might as well get thrown right into the fire. No use cupcakin' it,"
Wagner said.

"Cupcake (it)" here means 'coast through, do (something) without
exertion' (cf. similar dessert metaphors: "piece of cake", "cakewalk",
"pudding", "easy as pie", etc.). Here are some sports-related cites
from Usenet and other online forums:

nebr.sports.unl, Dec. 29, 1999
BYU, who cupcaked their way to a perfect season in '84, gets it in the
karma shorts again by getting whipped by unbeaten Marshall, one year
after losing their bowl to unbeaten Tulane.
Buffalo Runners Forum, June 18, 2002
I don't care if Dan Grande cupcakes his way to victory; I'm just
wishing that he would throw it down against the big dogs once in a
-----, Jan. 6, 2003
Look at SOS [strength of schedule] to see if the school is cupcaking.
KFFL Community, Jan. 13, 2005
Mediocre Indy, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh teams cupcaked their way into
the playoffs, feasting on the Jaguars, Texans, and Bengals.
Sportsrant Community, Jan. 29, 2005
and how does a good defense give up what 56 points to KC? thats why
Philly basically cupcaked it through the playoffs.
-----, Feb. 20, 2005
Oh yeah, they cupcaked their way right to a National Championship.
Fanblogs, Aug. 11, 2005
Auburn's downfall last year was it's puny schedule. If they hadn't
cupcaked it, they may have garnered the few extra votes that kept them
out of the Orange Bowl.
The Big Orange, Mar. 9, 2006
By the way, Syracuse also plays a stronger regular season schedule
than a lot of other schools so it's not like they cupcake their way
through the entire year.

In this cite (Kansas basketball player Keith Langford talking about
his mother) the sense is more like 'sugarcoat (something)':

Topeka Capital-Journal, Dec. 17, 2002, D6 (Factiva)
"She's always been my worst critic," Langford said. "She never
cupcaked anything, always gave it to me straight."

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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