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Doesn’t That Take the Cake!

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Edward in Fargo, North Dakota, wonders about the expression of exasperation, If that doesn’t take the cake, meaning “Well, doesn’t that beat all!” or “Isn’t that a shame!” The origins of this phrase go back more than 200 years, when enslaved black Americans would compete in competitions called cakewalks, strutting before judges and elaborating with fancy dance steps, often mocking slaveholders. The prize for the winner was a cake. This is part of a complete episode.

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Black American English