a whale of a time


a very enjoyable time

TRANSLATION

to have a whale of a time = einen Mordsspaß haben, sich königlich amüsieren, einen Riesenspaß haben

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“For four years they had A WHALE OF A TIME, working for NATO and living in a close-knit Italian community perched on an extinct volcano with a view of the bay.”

Miranda Innes - The Irish Times

Did you
know?

a whale of a time
idiom

- An exceptionally fun, exciting, or amusing experience

The Farlex Dictionary


ORIGIN

Whales are more than big. In fact, the Blue Whale is the largest animal in the world, as long as a basketball court or around 30 meters.

Given our habit of using animals as metaphors, it’s no surprise that whale acts as a superlative or so-called ‘intensifier’.

Apart from “a whale of a time”, one might also hear expressions like “whale of a project” (comprehensive or difficult),  “whale of a game” (exciting), or “whale of a party” (great fun).

One of the first mentions in print is from the early 20th century, when this phrase started to become mainstream:

“The other side from camp is straight up, and no man in God’s land need try to climb it; but we had a whale of a time rolling down rocks; and the way they went!

Manitoba Morning Free Press (Winnipeg, Canada) 21 June 1901


ANIMALS IN BUSINESS

Animal metaphors are frequently found in the business world:

- bear market = declining stock market prices

- bull market = rising stock market prices

- gorilla = a large company that dominates an industry

- lemming = an investor who follows trends that eventually fail

- cash cow = a product which consistently generates high revenues


SYNONYMS

a bash, a blast, a fun time, a good time, a great time, A WHALE OF A TIME, a wild time


PRACTICE OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“We always had a WHALE OF A TIME at the annual sales conference.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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