take the cake

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Related to took the cake: takes the cake

take the cake

1. To be the worst in a series of negative actions. Primarily heard in US. When I found out he had been reading through my text messages, well, that took the cake! You charged me for the drink you spilled on me? That really takes the cake!
2. To be the best or the most outstanding. Primarily heard in US. You've done some nice murals, but this one takes the cake!
See also: cake, take

take the cake

Be the most outstanding in some respect, either the best or the worst. For example, That advertising slogan really took the cake, or What a mess they made of the concert-that takes the cake! This expression alludes to a contest called a cakewalk, in which a cake is the prize. Its figurative use, for something either excellent or outrageously bad, dates from the 1880s.
See also: cake, take

take the cake

If someone or something takes the cake, they represent the most extreme example of something stupid or bad. I mean, he's done a lot of crazy things, but this really takes the cake. Compare with take the biscuit. Note: This expression has a similar origin to `take the biscuit', which refers to the practice in the past of awarding cakes as prizes in competitions.
See also: cake, take

take the cake

1. To be the most outrageous or disappointing.
2. To win the prize; be outstanding.
See also: cake, take
References in periodicals archive ?
Greggs took the cake to New York Primary School, in North Shields and gave the children a short history lesson about the Battle of Trafalgar.
But what took the cake was that Kyrgiakos (below) said he'd be right back tomorrow morning to help the Ibrox title push.
They took the cake along and secretly gave it to the staff to present to her before the family sang Happy Birthday.
There are a lot of handy little video cameras out there, but this one took the cake.
But, what took the cake for me was when Robin Padilla pressed the golden buzzer' for a pair of so-so dancers
A lot of confectioners made baklava in Lebanon but Al Samadi Sweets took the cake.