take the cake

idiomatic phrase

variants chiefly US take the cake or British take the biscuit
informal
: to win the prize : to rank first
While it didn't take the cake for the warmest Christmas on record, it was close.Krista McEnany
typically used to describe something that is very surprising, foolish, remarkable, annoying, etc.
There have been doozies in the flurry of free-agent signings … but the Giants' acquisition of quarterback Kerry Collins takes the cake.Peter King
Of all the invasions of her privacy, this one took the cake.Richard Peck
When he was quite sure that the narrative had ended he laughed noiselessly for fully half a minute. Then he said: "Well! … That takes the biscuit!"James Joyce

Examples of take the cake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tossing and turning in bed and randomly waking up at night is uncomfortable, but experiencing night sweats may take the cake in comparison. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 13 Mar. 2024 Weird candles are a staple on every home decor list, but this teddy bear candle may take the cake for the cutest candle yet. Taylor Gumm, Rolling Stone, 7 Feb. 2024 The Transportation Security Administration confiscates weird and dangerous items from travelers going through one of Idaho’s several commercial airports yearly — such as a memorial sword in 2022 — but last year might take the cake. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 24 Jan. 2024 For those looking for the online casino offering the best payout, Cafe Casino takes the cake for today. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 11 Mar. 2024 There are so many reasons to look forward to a trip to IKEA, but the food court just might take the cake. Christianna Silva, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Dec. 2023 Get The Recipe 02 of 75 Lemon Raspberry Cake In terms of fresh dessert ideas, this tangy and zesty treat takes the cake. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 15 Feb. 2024 Steven Yeun takes the cake with his Beef win at the 2023 Emmy Awards. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2024 Of all this year's most exciting hair tool Black Friday deals, blow-dryer brushes taking the cake. Shanna Shipin, Allure, 24 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'take the cake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1847, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of take the cake was in 1847

Dictionary Entries Near take the cake

Cite this Entry

“Take the cake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20the%20cake. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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