To say something is “as easy as pie” is to say something is simply or very easily done. Example:
“I aced that test! It was as easy as pie.”
Where does it come from?
If you’ve ever tried to make a pie, especially if you’ve never done it before, it’s NOT exactly easy. So why in the world do we say pie is easy? Interestingly, I’ve found 2 completely different citations regarding the origin of this idiom.
The first citation states “as easy as pie” originated in Australia in the 1920s. It grew from the term “pie on” or “pie at” which means to be very good at something. The root is the Maori word “pai” which means “good”. Hence, if you’re good at something it will be as easy as pie.
The second citation states this idiom was born in 19th century America as a metaphor based on how easy it is to eat a slice of pie because it’s so tasty and pleasant!
Mark Twain was very fond of using the term “pie” to mean pleasant or accommodating: In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1884, he wrote:
“You’re always as polite as pie to them.”
“So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice,… and was just old pie to him, so to speak.”
The first literary use of what is believed to be the precursor of “as easy as pie” was actually “nice as pie,” as found in Which: Right or Left?, 1855:
“For nearly a week afterwards, the domestics observed significantly to each other, that Miss Isabella was as ‘nice as pie!'”
The earliest example of the actual phrase “as easy as pie” comes from the Rhode Island newspaper The Newport Mercury, June 1887 in a comic story about two New Yorkers down on their luck:
“You see veuever I goes I takes away mit me a silverspoon or a knife or somethings, an’ I gets two or three dollars for them. It’s easy as pie. Vy don’t you try it?”
The second citation for the origin is the most common.