have your cake and eat it

have (one's) cake and eat it (too)

To have or do two things that one desires that are normally contradictory or impossible to have or do simultaneously. Because "have" can also mean "eat," this expression may seem redundant. However, it is based on the meaning of "have" as "to possess," i.e., to maintain possession of one's cake while still eating it, an obvious impossibility. You're never going to save enough money to buy a house if you keep buying expensive appliances and cars. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Too many people want to have their cake and eat it, demanding all sorts of social benefits from the government but being unwilling to pay any taxes to fund them.
See also: and, cake, eat, have

have your cake and eat it

COMMON If someone wants to have their cake and eat it, they are trying to benefit from two different situations, when they can only benefit from one of them. He wants to switch to a market economy in a way which does not reduce people's standard of living. But he can't have his cake and eat it. You can't be married to one woman and have a close relationship with another woman at the same time. That's having your cake and eating it. Note: Although `have your cake and eat it' is now the most common form of the expression, the original was `eat your cake and have it'. Some people consider the recent version illogical, since it is certainly possible to have a cake and then eat it but not the other way round.
See also: and, cake, eat, have

have your cake and ˈeat it

(British English) (also have your cake and eat it too American English, British English ) (informal) (often used with can’t) enjoy the advantages of two things that cannot exist together: ‘I’ll have no money at all left after this holiday.’ ‘But you’re having a great time, aren’t you? You can’t have your cake and eat it!’
See also: and, cake, eat, have
References in periodicals archive ?
Fat-Loss Feast - Find out how to lose weight and have your cake and eat it with personal trainer and cook Joe Sexton.
Ads implied that you could have your cake and eat it, too, as long as the cake was fat-free.
Chairman Greenspan is putting some cold water on the theory of some economists that you can have your cake and eat it too because of continuing productivity gains in the future,'' Sohn said.
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