Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something easily accomplished: Winning the race was a cakewalk for her.
  • n. A 19th-century public entertainment among African Americans in which walkers performing the most accomplished or amusing steps won cakes as prizes.
  • n. A strutting dance, often performed in minstrel shows.
  • n. The music for this dance.
  • intransitive v. To perform a strutting dance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A contest in which cake was offered for the best dancers.
  • n. The style of music associated with such a contest.
  • n. The dance, or style of dance associated with such a contest.
  • n. Something that is easy or simple, or that does not present a great challenge.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a strutting dance based on a march; was performed in minstrel shows; originated as a competition among Black dancers to win a cake
  • v. perform the cakewalk dance
  • n. an easy accomplishment

Etymologies

Originally a form of dance that white masters had their slaves perform for them and their audiences as entertainment. The slaveowners considered the spectacle extremely amusing since the dances derived from sophisticated white European aristocracy. As such, slaveowners dressed the slaves in costumes of exaggerated finery, like ridiculously tall tophats and flashy striped pants, and taught the slaves variations of the original dance steps designed as highly comical parodies. Audiences selected their favorites, and the slaves who performed most entertainingly for their masters were rewarded with a piece of cake. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Some etymologists believe the term cakewalk and piece of cake and takes the cake came about when contest winners in rural areas of the United States were given cakes as prizes, for just about any competition.

    Let Me Eat Cake

  • The only way McCainiac gets a "cakewalk" is if if it's Hill/McCain and Bloomberg jumps in (which is highly likely in that scenario).

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • Obama is a fighter ... no one thought it would ever have come to him being on the verge of the nomination, HIllary thouight it was going to be a cakewalk from the start.

    Clinton in new ad: I'm a 'fighter'

  • * No one in the Bush administration ever said the war would be a "cakewalk" --- that term was used by a private consultant.

    In New Letter, Clinton's Lawyers Demand ABC Yank Film

  • Even better, once there had been such a demonstration, a guaranteed "cakewalk" -- as, say, in Iraq -- who would ever dare stand up to American power again?

    The End of a Subprime Administration

  • Republican Ken Adelman, one of the architects of the Iraq war who once infamously claimed that post-war Iraq would be a "cakewalk" - and who is widely hated by the far left for his

    Sister Toldjah

  • The cakewalk was a dance performed by slaves in the Deep South, usually on Sundays.

    The Bushman Way of Tracking God

  • Most people were calling a cakewalk -- you know, be prepared to turn off your television sets early, because this isn't much of a game you're about to watch -- when in fact it turned out to be really one of the great legendary football games in our country's history.

    There are some words you might think they wouldn’t use at the White House any more. - Swampland - TIME.com

  • The following week he was summoned before the disciplinary committee of his church and charged with unchristian conduct, in the following particulars, to wit: dancing, and participating in a sinful diversion called a cakewalk, which was calculated to bring the church into disrepute and make it the mockery of sinners.

    The Marrow of Tradition

  • They did finally come around to the notion that invading Iraq wouldn't be a "cakewalk," but not until things had totally gotten out of control and many thousands of lives had been lost.

    Cheney wrong on interrogation inquiry facts, Obama official says

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Comments

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  • Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the Southern United States. The form was originally known as the chalk line walk; it takes its name from competitions slaveholders sometimes held, in which they offered slices of hoecake as prizes for the best dancers. It has since evolved from a parody of ballroom dancing to a fun fair like dance where participants dance in a circle in the hopes of winning a free cake.
    _Wikipedia

    February 26, 2008