Food for Thought: “Food for Thought” Meaning with Helpful Conversation

An idiom you will hear a lot in everyday conversation is “food for thought.” Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and how the phrase came to be widely used throughout its history. You will also find examples of how to use this phrase properly in conversations/statements and other ways to say the phrase in more literal terms.

Food for Thought

Food for Thought Meaning

The idiomatic phrase “food for thought” is a means of expression that describes someone pausing to think about, consider and ponder a given situation when presented information to properly understand.

Origin of this idiomatic expression

This idiom first appeared in a poem by author Robert Southey titled A Tale of Paraguay. This poem was published in 1825. The phrase was adopted into use as an idiom for thinking since food is an essential part of the digestion process and keeping the human body healthy. Thus, thoughts are food to keep the brain healthy.

“Food for Thought” Examples

Examples in Statements

A statement in a local newspaper about recent events.

  • “The mayor of the city asked his supporters to consider what he was saying as food for thought before they made their final decision at the polls this Tuesday.”

A statement made by an employee after a business meeting.

  • “That meeting provided me a lot of food for thought about whether I still want to keep working here or not.”

Examples in Conversations

A conversation between two friends.

  • Friend 1: This wreath is beautiful. Did you make it?
  • Friend 2: I sure did, it is just something I do in my spare time.
  • Friend 1: Well, just some food for thought. You should consider going into business for yourself. This wreath is amazing!

A conversation between co-workers.

  • Co-worker 1: Did you put in for that promotion?
  • Co-worker 2: No, I don’t know if I should or not.
  • Co-worker 1: Why not? I mean, just some food for thought, consider all the things you have learned in your short five years of working here. I think you are more than qualified.

More useful examples:

  • The teacher’s advice certainly gave me food for thought.
  • The study on poverty certainly offers food for thought to America’s leaders.
  • Today’s reading assignment will give you enough food for thought to prepare for next week’s class discussion.
  • Dr. Smith’s speeches always offer much food for thought.
  • There is much food for thought in this essay.
  • Mr. Polteed provided Soames with food for thought.
  • There is much food for thought in the film.

Other Ways to Say “Food for Thought”

Like all idiomatic terms, there are other ways that these figurative expressions can be stated in a much more literal way. For instance, saying things like you should really think about it, you should greatly consider this or give it some thought are other ways to literally state “food for thought.”

List of “Food for Thought” synonyms:

  • Something to think about
  • Pause for thought
  • Think about
  • Figure out
  • Think
  • Reconsider
  • Rethink
  • Something to consider

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