In this The English We Speak podcast: Li starts to get worried when her colleagues talk about going for a ‘bottomless’ meal. What does it mean? Find out more by listening to this programme.
(In the office, people are discussing where they should go for a meal)
A: OK, everyone it’s 6 o’clock, I’m done. I think it’s time we go for dinner!
B: I’m starving. Shall we go to Big Eaters? I love their salad – you can go bottomless.
C: I’m not a salad person. How about some fish and chips? Happy Fisher offers bottomless chips.
D: I suggest we go to Happy Chicken across the road. We can go bottomless with any soft drinks. I’m very thirsty.
A: Do we know anywhere that we can go bottomless on the main course?
D: Oh, that can only be your home!
Li: Oh my God! Neil, what are you talking about? Are we really going ‘bottomless’ tonight? I’m afraid I can’t go to the restaurant naked.
Neil: Oh Li. You have misunderstood the word ‘bottomless’.
Li: Oh? What does it mean then?
Neil: Here it simply means ‘unlimited’ or ‘boundless’ – you can have as much food or drink as you like for the same price.
Li: Ah, it sounds like a buffet, doesn’t it? You can eat as much as you like. Can I say ‘I had a bottomless buffet’?
Neil: No, it’s not a term people say or use, mostly you see it only on the menu in a restaurant.
Li: I have seen the word ‘unlimited’, but I’ve never seen the word ‘bottomless’.
Neil: Yes. They mean the same thing. Nowadays a lot of restaurants do this to attract customers, but the ‘bottomless’ only applies to soft drinks. Do you know why?
Li: Because they are cheap! I guess no pubs in the whole of England would offer a bottomless service!
Neil: Shame about that! However, there is another common expression you may come across: ‘a bottomless pit’. Let’s listen to some examples:
- It’s a poor country with a bottomless pit of debt.
- Jack will eat any food that’s left over. His stomach is a bottomless pit!
Neil: This expression is used to describe someone or something that always needs or wants more of whatever they are given, especially money.
Li: I see. What a vivid expression!
Neil: Finally the word ‘bottomless’ does have another meaning – not wearing trousers.
Li: See, that’s what I thought, going naked. Now that you have explained, I must not make the same mistakes again! Thanks Neil.
Neil: You’re welcome Li. For more idiomatic expressions just log onto bbclearningenglish.com. Bye!
The English We Speak – Bottomless Transcript Video
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: