The saying "stuffed to the gills" often brings to mind a certain image. It makes you think of a fish stuffed right up to its gills or perhaps, more generally, something so full it can't hold anymore. The term often describes feeling overly full, especially after a large meal. In a broader sense, it can also refer to anything completely full or packed.
The phrase "stuffed to the gills" describes a state of extreme fullness. If you say you're "stuffed to the gills," it means you've eaten so much that you feel extremely full, as if you couldn't eat another bite. The phrase can also describe any situation where something is filled to its maximum capacity.
Let's dive deeper into its main meanings and uses:
The idiom "stuffed to the gills" has a quite visual origin. The gills of a fish are near the mouth, so if a fish is stuffed up to the gills, it's about as full as it can possibly be. From this image, the phrase has come to mean feeling extremely full from food or that something is packed to its limit.
"Was there may have been more cicadas, as many were too far digested to be counted. Stuffed to the gills, as with a ramrod. He had dined like a grand duke. And he died like one - damned if he didn’t!"
- Illustrated Outdoor World and Recreation, Volumes 50-51, 1914
To make the use of this idiom clearer, let's look at examples of "stuffed to the gills" from different situations:
The phrase "stuffed to the gills" also comes up in pop culture, generally to represent fullness to the extreme.
Let's look at some examples:
There are many other expressions that can mean the same thing as "stuffed to the gills."
Here are a few:
"Stuffed to the gills" is an idiom that means extremely full or overfilled, often used to express the feeling after eating a lot or when a space is packed with objects or people.
You can use it to describe a state of fullness. For instance, you can say, "My bonus daughter made a delicious cake for dessert, and we were all stuffed to the gills." or "I can't wait for the holidays when our house is stuffed to the gills with laughter and gifts."
Yes, "stuffed to the gills" is an idiom common in American English but is also understood and used in other English-speaking countries.
Yes, besides using it to describe the feeling of being full from eating, it can also describe an event or place that's extremely crowded or a situation where too much of something is used or present.
"Stuffed to the gills" is typically used in more casual or informal conversation. It might not be suitable for very formal or academic contexts.
The phrase "stuffed to the gills" is not offensive. However, as with any idiomatic expression, it's important to use it in appropriate contexts and with people who are likely to understand it.
Yes, while it's often used in speech, "stuffed to the gills" can also be used in informal writing, such as in a personal email, a blog post, or a casual article. However, it might not be suitable for very formal writing.
While the phrase "stuffed to the gills" is commonly used in American English, it's understood and used in various English-speaking regions.
While the phrase might sound like it's about fish, it's not really. It's an idiom, which means its meaning isn't based on the literal definitions of the words it contains. The "gills" in the phrase are actually referring to the top of the throat, adding to the imagery of being filled up to the top.
It largely depends on the context. If it's after a meal, you might say something like, "I can see why, the food was delicious!" If it's about a crowded place, a possible response could be, "Sounds like it was quite the popular event!"
"Stuffed to the gills" is a colorful way to express a state of extreme fullness or overcapacity. It can apply to a variety of situations, from describing your feeling after a hearty meal to noting how crowded a concert was.
Here's a quick recap: