The queue

This is the current list of snowclones that don’t yet have entries in the snowclones database, but will. It has been compiled from a variety of sources, including several omnibus posts to Language Log, suggestions in comments, and the list of snowclones on Wikipedia. It is not comprehensive! If you have a suggestion and you don’t see it here, please comment so it can be added.

Note there are a few German variants mixed in here, thanks to my German correspondent, Emmanuel Dammerer. I welcome other foreign-language snowclones, if you know of any!

If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, once I’ve written about a snowclone on this list, I’ll link to it here … or I’ll just strike it through. In any case, I’ll do my best to keep this list updated with regard to what’s actually been posted about.

[Current count, posted/total: 47/383]
don’t hate me because I’m Y
to X or not to X
X is the new Y
I’m not an X, but I play one on TV
I am X, hear me Y
(Dammit Jim,) I’m an X, not a Y!
X? We don’t need no stinkin’ X!
have X will travel
save an X, ride a Y
In X, no one can hear you Y
If Eskimos have N words for snow, X must have M words for Y
In Soviet Russia, X Ys you!
I, for one, welcome our X overlords
X and Y and Z oh my!
Take this X and shove it
When I say X, what I really mean is Y
A few X short of a Y
not the Xest Y in the Z
X me no Xs
that’s not an X; this is an X
yes Virginia, there is an X
Im in ur X Ying ur Z
If it’s wrong to X, I don’t want to be right
Got X?
the only good X is a dead X
Whatever Vs your X
going to X like I’ve never Xed before
we’re gonna need a bigger X
X is hard, let’s go shopping
These are not the X you’re looking for
there once was an X from Y… (limerick)
bring me your poor, your tired, your X
There’s no crying in X
X 2: Electric Boogaloo
My kingdom for an X / Meine Koenigreich fuer X
I [shape] X
This is your brain on X
The first rule of X is, you don’t talk about X
I X therefore I am
consider the X
all your X are belong to us
It’s X all the way down

love in the time of X

X considered harmful

N Xs to Y before you die / X sehen und sterben
X is the Yest Z this side of the Mississippi (other geographical variants are possible here, too, I think)
Who’s got two thumbs and X? (This guy)
X’s world
as an X, M is a great Y
2 Xs, 3 Xs, many Xs
X is the Y of Z
busier than an X Y
I’m from X and I’m here to help
now if you’ll excuse me, I have an X to Y
Hardly/Not a X goes by without Y
If that’s X, every Y should be so lucky
X gone wild
no rest for the X
X and call me Y
The end of the X as we know it
A lot of people, when they have a problem, say ‘I know, I’ll use X’. Now they have two problems
An Xer shade of Y
If it’s not the X, it’s the Y
That’s why they call it X
Once an X, always an X
What is this X of which you speak?
X? What is X?
Xy McXerson
Hey may be an X, but he’s our X
It’s X, (Jim), but not as we know it
X is to Y what Z is to A
X is to Y what Z is to Y
Sufficient unto the X is the Y thereof
You can’t X your Y and Z it too
Stupid X tricks
Pimp my X
If X are outlawed, only outlaws will have X
A watched X never Ys
The once and future X
Nothing says X like Y
X: panacea or Y?
Men are from X, women are from Y
X are from Mars, Y are from Venus
possibly X are from Y, W are from Z
Are we X yet?
the X from hell
X city, Xville
X for Jesus
X’s X
Step away from the X
Invisible X
I can haz X?
I made you a X, but I eated it
X-lorn (morphology)
X-tastic (morphology)
X-tacular (morphology)
One X does not a Y make / Eine X macht noch keinen Y
That and X will buy you Y
a fine line between X and Y
If I had a W for every X
The N that Xs together Ys together
You can take the X out of the Y, but you can’t take the Y out of the X (chiasmus)
X will be X
I’ve got your X (RIGHT HERE)
All over but the X
If you like X, you’ll love Y
What happens in X stays in X
Et tu, X?
Is that an X I see before me?
X is dead, long live X
An X by any other name
X is X is X is X
X is a dish best served Y
X or bust
Every time X, Y
When the going gets X, the X Y
the X to end all Xs
the care and feeding of X
X Ys can’t be wrong
X Ys agree
N out of M Xs agree
X for fun and profit
today X, tomorrow Y!
Is that an X in your pocket?
X, I have a feeling we’re not in Y anymore
Better X through Y
An X is a terrible thing to Y
Will the real X please stand up?
X has left the building
Happiness is (an) X
The good, the bad, and the X
Where no X has Y before
It’s X (o’clock). Do you know where your Y are?
If it’s Tuesday, it must be X
Holy X, Batman!
X and the single Y
X eye for the Y guy
It’s an X! It’s a Y! It’s a Z!
Everything you always wanted to know about X, but were afraid to ask
That’s no moon; it’s an X
I ❤ X
X of Ying/X of Yness (role-playing)
Any sufficiently X Y is indistinguishable from Z
Friends don’t let friends X
X, thy name is Y
to X is human
This is your X. This is your X on Y
All I really need to know about X I learned in Y
I knew X. (X was a friend of mine.) Y, you are no X
A kindler, gentler X
Not your {daddy|father|grandma|granny}’s X
X, X, X
Will X for Y
The mother of all X
It’s the X, stupid
You might be an X if
Will someone please think of the X?
X, N dollars. Y, M dollars. Z, priceless.
X called. They want their Y back.
If X then the terrorist have won.
If by X you mean Y
Not without my X / Nicht ohne meinen X
Our man in X / Unser Mann in X
Death of an X / Tod eines X
A fistful of X / Fuer eine Handvoll X
The unbearable lightness of X / Die unertrgliche Leichtigkeit des X
All roads lead to X / Alle Wege fuehren nach X
X in times of Y / X in Zeiten des/der Y
to X is human
X and let Y / X und Y lassen
In the beginning there was X / Am Anfang war das X
One does not simply X into Mordor (suggested in email)
Xzilla (suggested in comments)
vast, X-wing conspiracy
X, and by X I mean Y[not X]
Age and treachery beat youth and X every time (not sure about this one;
His X was his undoing
If you look up X in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Y
X is not a crime
No one ever got fired for X
How do you make a small fortune in X? Start with a large one.
I love the smell of X in the morning. (It’s the smell of … victory.)
Bury My Heart at X (Wounded Knee) (German)
Of X and Y (of mice and men)
(You can never be) too X or too Y (rich or thin)
There is no business like X business / there is no X like [adjective/noun] X
Dial X for X-word (M for Murder)
Sleepless in X (German)
Life is too short for X (German)
All power to X (the people)
X expects that every Y will do his Z (England expects that every man will do his duty)
[Grand|Great] unified X
Who are you and what have you done with X? (
X de chez X (French (mostly) equivalent of “X city” and “Xy McY/Xerson; need notes on origin)
Post-X (modern)
X is like Y on Z[drug] (tentative) / X auf Speed (also tentative)
An X a day keeps the Y away
X is bunk (history)
Portrait of the X as a Y / Porträt des X als Y
You are X[name] and I claim my Y[often “five pounds”] (British)
Who’s afraid of X?
the big X in the sky (tentative)
Semper X (tentative)
X-(a)holic (morphology)
X(en)freude (morphology)
X(o)nomics (morphology)
Xfest (morphology)
X(a)thon (morphology)
SchadenX (morphology)
X, call your office (original discussed by Ben Zimmer here:
X considered harmful (GOTO,
Give blood, play X
homo X (species names)
X nation
One (wo)man’s X is another (wo)man’s Y
You can’t keep a good X down
X is bliss
When did it become X to Y?
Who died and made you X?
Saving the world, one X at a time
Make X, not Y
Crouching X, hidden Y
X with a capital X
Put the X in Y
You can’t spell X without Y
X makes the baby Jesus cry
on a scale from one to X, (he’s a Y)
X and the city (X only one syllable?)
teach an old X new Ys (Y rhymes with “tricks”?)
you say X, I say Y (tomato)
the boy who cried X
today X; tomorrow, the world!
X 2: Electric Boogaloo
whatever X wants, X gets
my X runneth over
I eat X for breakfast
X leads to Y. Y leads to Z. Z leads to A.
X rising
X, schmX
I can’t believe it’s not X
Honey, I shrunk the X
Use X to control X (Chinese/Korean) / Fight X with X
it’s X, bitch [not there yet, but popular in the young folks’ speech, I hear]
don’t X me, bro! [not there yet, but popular in the young folks’ speech, I hear]
there’s no X[letter] in Y[word not containing letter]
X and the city
dude, where’s my X
X fu
X for dummies
save the X, save the world [not there yet]
my X is longer than yours
Blue Horseshoe loves X
from X’s mouth to God’s ear ( snowclone or idiom/proverb with open slot?)
all that and a X
every generation gets the X it deserves
tough on X, (and) tough on the causes of X
brother, can you spare a X?
sweet/holy X of Y (attributed to Futurama‘s Hermes whatsit, but this structure is tricky as it’s so flexible. his usage is snowcloneish, not sure if I can blanket claim this as one)
love me, love my X
if God had intended X, he wouldn’t have invented Y
X out with your Y out
show me and X, and I will show you a Y
X and its enemies
X and its discontents
critique of X reason
X and its friends
the end of X
the Rise and Fall of X
from X with love
is X dead?
X is an N-letter word
one must imagine X happy
no X please, we’re Y
every X has the Y it deserves
keep X weird
two, two, two X in one (
where good X go to die
X, sweet X
this X is clean (Poltergeist)
what price X?
a farewell to X
design for X (X0: living; Noel Coward)
they can have my X when they pry it from my cold, dead Y (maybe)
man does not live by X alone
the X is a lie (from Portal. this is a young one.)
instant X–just add Y
all over X like Y on Z
X, we hardly knew (ye|ya)
X has no Y; X needs no Y
great X’s ghost (this seems related to the Futurama one, also other Robin-isms)
the tao of X
suddenly, X! thousands of them!
X! X like the wind!
does this X make me look fat? (X is optional, though)
our X, our selves
what’s a little X between friends?
X ha(th|s) its privileges
color me X
he couldn’t X his way out of a paper bag
X is as X does
bitches don’t know ’bout my X (not a lot of instances of this one yet)
what was is that first attracted you to X, Y?
N X do not a Y make
the X whisperer
X: threat or menace?
your right to X ends where my Y begins
X? in my Y? (not sure about this one)
I am the very model of a modern X
how I stopped X and learned to love Y
you can lead an X to Y but you can’t make it Z
come for the X, stay for the Y
LastName. (pause) FirstName LastName
I’m bringing X back
X 2.0
The Talented Mr. X
Xes of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your Ys!
the X! it burns!
you had me at X
an X we can believe in []
your inner X
X encounters of a Y kind
cool Xings
if you seek X, look around you
I’m out like an X [Prep [NP Y]]
love is a many x-[e|o]red thing
you can lead an X to Y but you can’t make him/her/it Z
when X met Y
X 101 [same as X for Dummies]
where’s your X now?
there’s gold in them thar X
one X to rule (Y?) them all
X agonistes
X on, Y off
if X is Y, then I’m Z
hot X-on-X action
just X it and forget it!
so [many|much] X, so little time
better the X you know than the Y you don’t / más vale X conocido que Y por conocer (see comment on this page)
X walk with me (not sure about this one, haven’t found much variation)
X giveth; X taketh away
X. Y. Repeat.
an X’s work is never done.
night of the living X
we are all X now. (2 senses: monarchists/Keynesians; Americans/Hokies/Georgians)
they shoot X, don’t they?
the power of X of X compels you!
when X attack (in reference to reality TV?)
get your X on
in X we trust
X Y is X (long cat; also Xing Y Xes)
I’d X her Y (is this really a snowclone?)
the partnership for an X-free Y
I was a teenage X (werewolf)
ain’t no party like an X party
let a thousand Xes bloom
two X, no waiting
every X in the book
X(ness) is next to godliness
X-ass Y/X ass-Y (not sure about this one)
I take/like my X like I like my Y
black, white, and X all over
live long and X
may the X be with you
X your Y, X the world
it’s all fun and games until X
you made your X, now Y (lie) in it
one giant leap?
stuff X people like (
Xer than a Y on Z
Xware (I think B. Zimmer has written on this one)
what if they gave an X and nobody came?
X-shaped hole
that’s no X–it’s a space station!
the X whisperer
never mind the X, here’s Y
I’ve got N problems, but an X ain’t one (N usually = 99)

I don’t always X, but when I do, it’s a Y

It’s about ethics in X

X went to Y all I got was this lousy Z

  1. “tentative” is for those phrases whose snowclone-hood is not certain. That is, they are cliches or idioms, but don’t have a specific origin we can pin them to.
  2. Other material in parentheses is meant as notes to myself, for when I finally get to writing up the snowclones, or words from the original source that are optional in use of the snowclone. Material in brackets usually refers to the limitations on the variable(s) of the snowclone.

564 responses to “The queue

  1. This is similar to the “X-gate” variatios for scandals.

    In India, various regional sections of the film industry are labelled “Xollywood,” where X is the first letter of the name of the city, area or neighbourhood where the films are made. Everyone’s heard of Bollywood by now (B for Bombay), but there’s also Bengali cinema’s Tollywood, for Tollygunge in Calcutta, and Tamil cinema’s Kollywood (for a neigbourhood in Madras that I can’t remember at the moment). This has even gone across the border, to Pakistan. Lahore has Lollywood.

  2. Another morphologic snowclone in the wake of postmodernism would be post-X as in postfeminism, postcolonialism or postdemocratic.

    Originally simply implying posteriority, the prefix now has a clear pejorative notion. I would call it a snowclone because of the implied reference (Referenz) to postmodernism.

  3. In French, “X de chez X” (literally, “X from the home of X”) means “extreme(ly) X”. Perhaps “X city” is the nearest equivalent English snowclone.

  4. One to add to the list …

    “There’s no crying in X”

    I’m not completely sure of the origin. Tom Hanks uses “There’s no crying in baseball” in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own”. A lot of the google hits reference that.

  5. How about “who are you and what have you done with X?”?

  6. Re Xollywood: also Nollywood in Nigeria.

  7. I don’t see this one yet:
    “Y is like X on steroids.”
    there is NO LIMIT to what people apply this to (and I am SO TIRED of hearing it):

    Dubai: ‘Like Singapore on steroids’
    Google Video Is Like Flickr On Steroids
    Introducing a Prius on steroids
    His style has been compared to Seinfelds George Costanza on steroids
    The guys from SmallPlanet say: “for any geeks out there like us, it’s like Bluejacking on steroids”.
    …is sort of like the video games of my youth on steroids. …
    WOW, it’s like a fan film on steroids!
    This would be like the Super Bowl on steroids for them
    It’s like play-doh on steroids!
    It’s like regular green tea on steroids, and then some

  8. “X on steroids” seems to have the German counterpart “X auf Speed” (which hasn’t really caught on yet if you sort out the instances related to drugs or high speed racing). However, I’m not sure if this one would qualify as a snowclone, it seems to lack reference to an original and sound more like a simple idiom.

  9. “You are a X and I claim my Y” is a British snowclone. Y is often “five pounds”.

    An explanation from rec.arts.sf.fandom FAQ:

    [Question #]38. Why “You are XXX and I claim my five pounds?”
    A. This started with publicity campaigns by the British *Westminster Gazette* (from 1927) and *News Chronicle* (mid-1930s), whose agent “Lobby Lud” prowled pre-announced seaside resorts. If you recognized him from his published photo you could win ten pounds by producing the newspaper and saying, “You are Mr. Lobby Lud, I claim the [name of paper] Prize.” When the postwar *Daily Mirror* imitated the campaign, its phrasing “… and I claim my five pounds” passed into the language. It’s now used for joky recognitions of “real identity”. Thus some r.a.sf.f posting about hideous personal injuries might be greeted with a nod to our most disaster-prone regular: “You are James Nicoll and I claim my five pounds!”
    Abbreviations: AICMFP or AICM5P. “UR Ralph 124C41+ AICM5P!”
    [Explanation by Dave Langford, with help from Eddie Cochrane.]

    “You are Mr Kolly Kibber. I claim the Daily Messenger prize” appears on the first page of “Brighton Rock”, pub. 1938

  10. Correction: “You are X and I claim my Y”, not “a X”

  11. X is bliss (ignorance)

  12. X Yday as in “Black Friday” referring to the day after Thanksgiving or “Black Tuesday” referring to the Stock Market crash of 1929.

    This could also be Black Xday but I’ve heard other colors being used such as Blue Monday, the song by New Order.

  13. “X, call your office.” Funny enough, the language log uses this frequently, but I couldn’t find it explained there.

  14. Pingback: added the Queue « The Snowclones Database

  15. When did it become X to Y? (e.g. When did it become cool to charge for beta software?)

  16. “Who died and made you X?” (X = king, queen, boss, God, Elvis, Confucius, Darth Vader, etc.)

  17. X makes baby jesus cry

    Used to indicate that X is bad or unpleasant. See
    for examples.

  18. Some snowclones based on identifying a thing with its name:

    X with a capital X-initial (Trouble with a capital T)
    Put the X in Y (We put the spring in Springfield)
    You can’t spell X without Y

  19. There’s no X in Y (there’s no “I” in “team”)

  20. “X and the city” (Sex)

  21. “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting X”

  22. Do you take predictions? I believe this one will get popular…

    Don’t X me, bro!

  23. It’s X all the way down.

    A quick google of [i]”it’s * all the way down” -elephants -turtles -tortoises[/i] returns 40,800 hits. Looking at the first twenty gives twelve unique versions, four examples that don’t fit the template (e.g., Today, it’s receded all the way down to 92%.), two instances of a sub-hit giving us two hits from the same site, one case of two references to the same source and one case where one hit didn’t have the phrase on the target page.

  24. I was surprised “Don’t X me, bro!” isn’t already in the db. 🙂

  25. Here’s a suggestion:

    “Love me, love my X” — the original seems to be “love me, love my dog”, but I don’t know the source. According to Wikipedia, John Heywood used it in 1546. Does it date earlier than that?

    Seen as:
    Love me, love my guns, life, butt, money, doll, goo, caribou, violent alcoholic rages, scent, car, neighbor, pet, spam, jokes, ferret, NASCAR, tofu, umbrella, among many, many others.

  26. Today ___, tomorrow the world

    (Originally posted Oct. 14 to ADS-L:

    See the archive entry there for history and documentation.)

    Google reports about 242,000 hits for “tomorrow the world”.

    Original: “Today Germany, tomorrow the world!”, a translation of the Nazi party slogan “Heute Deutschland, morgen die Welt!” (1, 2)

  27. Xs and Ys and Zs — Oh My!

    (a la “The Wizard of Oz” — Lions and tigers and bears — Oh My!)

  28. X{n}(^H){n}Y

    Used by computer-savvy users in online communication to denote a pretended blunder for humorous effect:

    Abbreviated as X(^W)Y.

  29. “Worst. X. Ever.”

    AFAIK, this is based on an episode of “The Simpsons”, in which an episode of the cartoon “Itchy & Scratchy” featuring brand new character Poochie is pronounced by the Comic Book Guy as “Worst…Episode…Ever.”

  30. X 2: Electric Boogaloo

    Play on the sequel to the ’80’s movie “Breakin'”, which was entitled “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo”. Used to denote a second version of something in a playful way.

  31. I for one welcome our new X overlords.

  32. Save the X, Save the World

    Brand-new snowclone now everywhere from the “Heroes” TV show. I ran across this in such a bizarre context today…

  33. X-fu

    (play on Kung-Fu … describes master-level ability in something not necessarily martial-arts-related, e.g. Scrabble-fu)

    • Popularized by drive-in-movie critic Joe Bob Briggs, who used it in a lot of his film reviews, usually when a character had used something unlikely as a weapon with impressive results – dumptruck-fu, shovel-fu, whatever.

  34. Whops, I think i posted this on the wrong place:

    “What about ‘My X is longer than yours’?
    I’m not sure, but there are about 29,900 hits for ‘longer than yours’ on Google…”

    Thanks again for you work! 🙂

  35. “Two cheers for X”

  36. Go to X. Go directly to X. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

  37. Just came across the term snowclone, after a friend pointed out that a blog entry about what can be described as one in Sino-Korean matches the definition:

    It takes the form: 以X制Y or “Use X to control Y”
    The most famous original is the Chinese idiom “Use barbarians to control barbarians”
    Was recently used in Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo headline in 以朴制昌 (use Park [Geun-hye] to control [Lee Hoi-]Chang) in reference to conservatives in the presidential election here.

  38. Since, amazingly, no one has mentioned them:

    Honey, I shrunk the X!


    I can’t believe it’s not X!

  39. The dismissive “X, schmX”.

  40. One I came across recently is “Blue Horseshoe loves X” (from the movie Wall Street)

  41. “X leads to Y. Y leads to Z. Z leads to A” gets 40,000,000 results on Google, although removing “fear” nets only 2,560,000 results. Still, it seems significant enough.

  42. Also, “I eat X for breakfast.”

  43. Okay folks, I’m picking Nov 14 as my arbitrary date after which comments I will respond to. I’m going to try to respond to comments here rather than in email henceforth, as y’all are increasingly not giving me contact information. Here goes.

    @ Paul Holser re Monopoly: I don’t think the X is obligatory; that is, you can say, “do not pass go. do not collect $200” and get the same meaning across. Therefore it’s not quite a snowclone.

    @Joe Taylor: I have never heard that one, but Google bears you out, so thank you!

    @tiptoe39: I believe you that you’ve heard “save the X, save the world” a lot lately, but Google doesn’t turn anything up for me, so it’s got a ways to go before I can write about it. 🙂

    @Mats: I think “two cheers for X” is not idiomatic enough to be a snowclone–how would we pin it to an original usage? If you can give me some examples of a way it’s used a particular sense, then we might be on to something. But as far as I can tell, it can be used literally (“let’s give X a hand!”) or ironically (“X sucks”), and by anyone from schoolteachers to dentists to executives to world leaders.

    @Paul Holser, anon, Muninn, Anonymous, marcomastri, interloper: Thank you for your contributions. The queue grows!

    @Mark Mandel: Holy moly, I can’t believe that one wasn’t already in the queue.

  44. [Having a] bad X day

  45. “I hate X with the fire of a thousand suns”

    as in

    I hate Pachelbel’s Canon with the fire of a thousand suns


    Why I hate Ginny Weasley with the fire of a thousand suns.

    but also moving into yearning

    My heart yearns with the fire of a thousand suns for your companionship

    and literal burning

    It was a great trip, though my scorched arms now burn with the fire of a thousand suns.

    to earning?

    Computer keyboards clicked with the fire of a thousand suns

  46. “X is Y. Z? Not so much.”

  47. Every generation gets the X it deserves.

  48. @Tom Z: I don’t think this phrase is idiomatic enough–you can give someone “a look with the fire of a thousand suns”, or you can say “I burn with the fire of a thousand suns” or “I seethe with the fire of a thousand suns”, but you can’t say “I disagree with the fire of a thousand suns”. I think allowing the last one, or something like it, is what would make it a snowclone. X must be flexible while the snowclone phrase is more fixed.

    @Stew: That one is definitely a possibility. I think I was trying to make a case against it at some point, but now I’m surprised it’s not in the queue. 🙂

    @Casey Barton: You can say “not so much” to pretty much anything–the “X is Y. Z?” part is not at all obligatory. If it were, I’d say that’s quite snowcloney, but as it is, “not so much” is just a slightly quirky way of disapproving of something. You can say, “I like pizza with pineapple, but pizza with anchovies, not so much”, or you can respond to someone who asks you “and did you like the movie?” with “not so much”, and the two variations have pretty much the same meaning.

    @Jason: Oooh, that’s one I haven’t heard. Thanks!

  49. Tough on X, tough on the causes of X.

    Lots of google hits for this one. The original formulation, or at least popularization, was by Tony Blair in 1992 — Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.

  50. We’re gonna need a bigger X

  51. Sweet X of Y! (Hermes’ exclamation from Futurama).

  52. @PaulB, Teev, sienel, Josh Musick: those are all contenders, indeed. (I can’t believe “we’re gonna need a bigger X” wasn’t in there already!)

  53. If the Good Lord had intended [X] he wouldn’t have invented [Y].

  54. Seems you overlooked my earlier comment re:

    Love me, love my X.

  55. well, the one that immediately comes to mind is a new pattern i love to fill: Rock out with your cock out, jam out with your clam out, etc. So that would be: X out with your Y out. Does that work or are these the only examples of this?

  56. @ThatBeeGirl: Added!

    @rikker: Yep, that was an oversight on my part. It is now in the queue.

    @hicky: I think that one qualifies–it has some parallels with “whatever Xs your Y”.

  57. I would prefer “Every X has the Y it deserves”, especially as “Every country has the government it deserves” seems to be X0/Y0.

    For the German counterpart, see:

  58. I love you, but I’ve chosen X

    X is an N-letter word

    One must imagine X [Sisyphus] happy
    (German: Wir müssen uns X als glücklichen Menschen vorstellen.)

    No X [sex] please, we’re Y [British]

  59. Is X Dead?

    The rather generic provocative title for articles questioning the value of something.

  60. re: Is X Dead?

    I believe this originated from a Time Magazine cover story:,16641,19660408,00.html

  61. The X that lost its Y.

  62. Here’s one for ya:

    Only two things come from X: Y and Z!

    Origin: Only two things come from Texas, steers and queers! (An Officer and a Gentleman)

  63. WWXD or What would X do?

    In full form, it’s a pretty normal sentence, but I think usage has spiked since the emergence of those WWJD bracelets.

  64. I’m too sexy for this X.

  65. Remember that time I learned to X and I forgot how to Y?

  66. How about the title “What we talk about when we talk about X”? I would guess that this originated with Raymond Carver’s short story collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. I’ve seen the phrase appear twice now in analytic philosophy articles. A google search reveals a wide variety of variations on the theme.

  67. From X with love. (X0: Russia?)

  68. X and its enemies (Liberman)
    X and its discontents (Shannon)
    Critique of X reason (Dammerer)
    X and its friends (Erickson)
    The end of X (Friedman)
    The Rise and Fall of X (Hollandbeck)

  69. City slogan: “Keep X Weird”

    This may have originated in Austin, but has spread to Portland, Louisville, Boulder, Shreveport, and Santa Cruz, at least. (Which raises the question, if so many places are weird, what does “weird” mean?)

    Its snowclonish spread was noted at least three years ago:
    “Keep Austin Weird. It’s only three words, but it’s spread like hot Texas butter[…] Other cities, like Boulder, Colo., and Santa Cruz, Calif., have also cashed into the ‘Keep _____ Weird’ slogan.”

  70. Re: Keep X Weird

    Also spawned “Keep San Antonio Lame,” which I’m not sure has snowcloned itself yet.

  71. The Tao of X“tao+of”+*

    Orig(?) Lao Tzu “The Tao of Heaven”. Now everything has a “Tao”: Pooh (of course), Physics, Poker, Antibiotic Resistance, even a guy named Steve (movie). In fact any person, activity or thing could have a Tao, since everything has a “way” however mundane.

    Originally intended to refer to a secret or difficult and appropriate (true) way of being that lends a thing its unique identity or power. Hence “The Tao of Farve” or “The Tao of Programming” or “The Tao of Rove.”

    Recent examples are the online comic Tao of Geek, and the Tao of Yao (basketball).

    Sorry. I’m writing a wikipedia entry here. Or the Tao te Ching.

  72. “Great X’s ghost!”

    Originally “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” as exclaimed by Perry White in the George Reeves “Superman” TV series.

  73. X has no Y; X needs no Y

  74. “Suddenly, X! Thousands of them!”

    I’m not sure where this comes from…

  75. a reader on my blog pointed me to yours. it’s awesome! to date my blog has two snowclone posts:

    all over X like Y on Z:

    X, we hardly knew ye:

    a phenomenon waiting for a name. now I know what to call them. thanks!

  76. How about “Instant X — just add Y” (original: instant coffee — just add water; clones: instant human just add coffee, instant jerk — just add [alcohol of choice])

  77. (cross-posted from the About page)

    The X is a lie!

  78. “Man does not live by X alone.”

    Originally from Deuteronomy, English version X = ‘bread’.

  79. It seems like the stereotypical limerick might be one. The limerick DB even has one all made up for you:

  80. How about:

    “They/you can have my X when they pry it from my cold, dead Y.” (I believe the original was X = gun, Y = fingers.)

  81. Perhaps of historical interest:

    What price X? (from the WW1 play and films “What Price Glory?”)

    A farewell to X. (from the Hemingway novel “A Farewell to Arms”)

    Design for X (from the Noël Coward play “Design for Living”)

    They seem to have been so popular in the 30s that James Thurber wrote a piece for the New Yorker “What Price a Farewell to Designs?”

  82. This X is clean. (Poltergeist, 1982)

    e.g., “this bathroom is clean!”, “this dog is clean!”

  83. “Home, sweet X” or: “X, sweet X”

  84. @Michaelis, Iggy, Manon, Porges, geegaw, JRynd, Chris_Radcliff, Dan_Moore, Nimravid, DanielD, John, Amy Vaughan: your suggestions have been added to the Queue. Thanks! (I’m not 100% sure about all of their snowclone-hoods, but I need to do some more research before rejecting them outright.)

  85. “X hath/has its privileges.”

    From “Rank hath its privileges” (RHIP), seen in American Express “Membership has its privileges.”

    I just used it in an email: “Non-profit status hath its privileges.”

  86. The X is only limited by Y
    The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations

  87. “Does this X make me look fat?”

    My coworker spotted it as “Does this blog make me look fat?” Besides the obvious changes of garment, Google also provides X’s including burqa, font, exoskeleton, monologue, band, etc.

  88. I didn’t sign up for X. (X didn’t sign up for Y.)

    What’s a little X between friends?

  89. I don’t know which is worse – the X or the Y. (Usually, X := the intrinsically offensive topic at hand and Y := some bathetic icing on the cake.)

  90. Neil Dolinger

    How about “Color me X”?

    I had forgotten about this one until I heard the Replacements’ “Color Me Impressed” today. This pattern was big in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s — there was a boy-band then named “Color Me Badd”. Google returns a bunch more.

  91. @Neil Dolinger: There’s another one I was sure must already in the queue, but wasn’t. Thanks!

  92. Melanie Goetz

    (You couldn’t) X your way out of a wet paper bag.

    The verb tense and pronouns are also variables.

  93. X is as X does

    Most commonly attributed to the movie “Forrest Gump” — “Stupid is as stupid does”…

  94. Bitches Don’t Know Bout My X

    probably originated from 4Chan.

  95. What was is that first attracted you to X, Y?

    Mrs Merton [played by Carline Aherne] (to Debbie McGee): What was it that first attracted you to multi-millionaire, Paul Daniels?

  96. X? In my Y? (it’s more likely, etc.)

  97. the war on X

  98. As spotted in the latest posting:

    “X do not a Y make”.

  99. Oh, X, we hardly knew ye.

    Here, X can be a failed TV show.

  100. In the same vein as “X de chez X”:

    X(y) McX(erson), or X(y) McY, where Y is a synonym for X.

  101. Headline:

    X: Threat or Menace?

    (The joke, of course, being that it’s a Hobson’s choice, “threat” and “menace” being synonyms. I wish I knew the origin of this one.)

  102. “X is the Yest Z this side of the Mississippi (other geographical variants are possible here, too, I think)”

    the Xest Y this side of Z

  103. “Your right to X ends where my Y begins.”

    “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” – Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.,_Jr.


  104. Tracked down the original of “X? In my Y?”:

  105. Seamus Sweeney

    I am the very model of a modern X (usually a two word X)

    From Gilbert and Sullivan.

    You can see a whole rake of very models of a modern X here – check out the related videos bit

  106. You can lead a X to Y but you can’t make it Z.

    Origin: X=Horse Y=Water Z=Drink

    Or: X=Man Y=Reason Z=Think

    Also, “the boy who cried X” should actually be the X who cried Y.

    eg. The woman who cried pregnant.

  107. How about “Come for the X, stay for the Y”?

  108. Snowclone: LastName. (pause) FirstName LastName.

    Original: Bond. (pause) James Bond.

  109. re “X is as X does”: “handsome is as handsome does” was proverbial centuries before Forrest Gump

  110. What about “Quo vadis X” or “X – quo vadis?”

    German examples, fresh from Google: “Weiterbildung, quo vadis?”, “Quo vadis, Patentrecht”, “Bethanien, quo vadis?”

    Original: Quo vadis, domine? (Biblical apocrypha.)

  111. X to Y: DROP DEAD

    (X := authority figure; Y := city)

  112. Daniel Shannon

    How about “You got X in my Y! You got Y in my X!”? According to the Wikipedia, it comes from ’70s Reese’s commercials.

  113. X 2.0

    The next phase of something — “Web 2.0”, especially.

  114. The Talented Mr. [rarely Ms] X

  115. Enough X to stun an ox.

  116. “two great Xs that X great together.”

    Original is “two great tastes that taste great together”, also from the Reese’s commercial.

  117. Damn the X, full speed ahead.

    I used this in the entry on “the only good X is a dead X”, but it has a full 21 kghits excluding the X0 form “torpedoes” and its spelling variant “torpedos”.

    Examples: public, evidence, competition, environmentalists, libel threat, neo-cons, facts, points, and my favorite — libidos.

  118. Look – up in the air! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… SuperX!

  119. Xs do it [with/in/on/by] Y.

    Examples: about a million bad jokes and bumper stickers like “Coal Miners do it in the dark” and “Astronomers do it with Uranus”.

  120. Here’s one you don’t seem to have…

    “X 2: This Time It’s Personal”, or, more broadly,

    “X 2: This Time It’s Y”

    The origin is the 1989 sequel “Jaws 4”, which had the slogan “This Time It’s Personal”. Since then, the phrase has come to connote “sequel”, either in that form, or altered (e.g. “Dangeresque II: This Time, It’s Not Dangeresque I”)

  121. X with the fishes.
    Original is “sleeps with the fishes” but there are a ton of variations out there now.

  122. I should probably amend my comment above to say that “thousands” can also be “hundreds” (and maybe even “millions”). Here’s a Google search as an example:*!+hundreds+of+them%22+OR+%22suddenly%2C+*!+thousands+of+them%22+OR+%22suddenly%2C+*!+millions+of+them%22

  123. “You had me at ‘X’.”
    From Jerry Maguire, indicating the word or phrase that convinced the listener. X=”Hello” in the movie, but I’ve seen it replaced with a variety of outlandish things.

  124. “The X! It burns!”

    (where usually X= “stupid” or “stoopid”, but also sometimes “irony”, “cuteness”, and others.)

    Geoff Pullum via email pointed me to:

    a commenter who thinks it comes from Gollum in the LOR. Could be; he says “it burns!” alright. Does he also say “The X!”? When did that get added?

  125. Daniel Shannon

    I’m not sure how to construct the Google query, but my instinct says this ought to qualify: “[X]es of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your [Y]s!”

    Of course, a snowclone based on a popularization of the conclusion of Marx’s and Engels’ Communist Manifesto: .

    Occurred to me while watching Inherit the Wind, which complicates things even further by using it in the form “[X]es of the world, unite! You have nothing to [Y] but your [Z]!”: “Hooligans of the world unite! You’ve got nothing to burn but your intellectuals.”

  126. Daniel Shannon

    Ah, after a moment’s thought, here’s a good Google. And, what’s more, a query for the Inherit the Wind form.

  127. Two or three things I (don’t) know about X (Deux ou trois choses que je [ne] connais [pas] à propos d[e][’]X)

  128. Ripped to [X]s. I’ve seen: shreds, pieces, shards, and – the one that caused me to post this- threads. Maybe that one should be an Eggcorn but the others seem to be deliberate.

  129. The Xest X that ever Xed (the gayest gay, the suckiest suck etc)

  130. (My apologies if this is a dupe. Life is short, the comments are many, and my current browser has no search.)

    “hot X-on-X action”

    Just saw this on the cover of CityBeat as “hot developer-on-developer action.”

  131. If X is Y, then I’m Z.

    (Usually Y = adjective, Z = person who most embodies said adjective).

    I’m sure you all remember the cinematic classic “Billy Madison,” where the old lady so memorably let X = “peeing your pants,” Y = “cool,” and Z = “Miles Davis.”

  132. “X on, Y off”

    Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid

  133. I’d like to suggest “X Agonistes” – it’s a favorite for politicians (I’ve seen Nixon, Clinton, McCain, Putin) but anything embattled will do. Other references coughed up by Google include Facebook, Don Imus, A-Rod, farm bill, Gaza – as in the strip, and Edsel – as in the car. For non-English majors, the original reference is John Milton’s 1671 poem about the Biblical Samson.

  134. dilutedmagnetics

    One X to Y them all?

  135. One X to rule them all

    (from “The Lord of the Rings”)

  136. What a(n) X, Y trip it’s been. (Canonically X := long, Y := strange.)

  137. There’s gold in them thar X

  138. Where’s your X now?

    (Originally “Where’s your god now?” from The Ten Commandments.)

  139. X 101

    Along the lines of “X for Dummies”…?

  140. “When X met Y”, both names. I guess from the film “When Harry met Sally”. Other movies include “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” and “When Brendan Met Trudy”. Instances from Google include “When Nixon Met Mao” in TIME, and “When Morty Met John” at Carnegie Hall

  141. Just now reviewing the queue after an absence of several months, and can’t resist adding Dorothy Parker’s famous variation on Fat X’s submission (April 3). Asked to use “horticulture” in a sentence, La Parker missed not a beat before offering: “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

  142. Advertising clichè:
    “All X are NOT created equal.”

  143. Love is a many-Xd’red thing (X := splen, gen)

  144. My personal favorites:

    I’m out like the fat kid in dodgeball.
    I’m out like an anorexic in a pie eating contest.
    I’m out like a boner in sweatpants.
    I’m out like Muhammed Ali in Jenga.
    I’m out like George Takei (Sulu).

  145. Two more:

    I’m out like a bulimic girl’s lunch.
    I’m out like your mom in a beauty pageant.

  146. If you seek X, look around you.

    If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.
    If you seek his monument, look around you.

  147. Desperately seeking X ?

  148. How about An X is what a Y calls a Z (as in, ‘A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist’)?

  149. X (encounters) of a Y kind

  150. Your Inner X
    Inspired by Your Inner Fish, a quick google search found:
    your inner child (the original inner x, I think)
    your inner economist
    your inner carnivore
    your inner geek
    your inner vagabond
    your inner goddess
    your inner psychic
    your inner taai taai
    your inner schoolgirl
    your inner pedagogue
    your inner overachiever
    your inner diva
    your inner ghoul/vampire/moper
    your inner nerd
    your inner Alexa Chung (this one, I think, makes the snowclone case by itself)
    your inner cartographer
    your inner cynic
    your inner leprechaun
    your inner sexpot
    your inner maestro
    your inner white dude
    your inner oenophile
    your inner mole rat
    your inner grandma
    your inner expert
    your inner chocolate lover
    your inner artist
    your inner artiste
    your inner pet
    your inner wino
    your inner CEO
    your inner athlete
    your inner empress
    your inner digital scrapbooker
    your inner bean-counter
    your inner coach
    your inner intrapreneur
    your inner stilt walker, juggler or clown

  151. Dunno if this is still being updated, and I’m afraid mine isn’t easy to research, but I think it’s legit:

    X much?

    (where X is a verb)

    Since Google ignores punctuation I haven’t been able to readily search for examples of these, but I’ve heard it often. It’s typically used derisively to indicate that the person being questioned doesn’t X much at all, and isn’t very good at it. I hear this all the time after someone makes a mistake. For example, if a person were to cough while swallowing some water, their companion might sarcastically ask “Drink much?”

    It’s my impression that the humor increases the more trivial or abstract the task; i.e. breathe or think would be funnier than kickbox or educate, because breathing and thinking are things everyone does “much” and ought to be good at.

    Unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions for the origin of this snowclone.

  152. @Jim I think the usage is actually more focused than your example, but this may indeed be a snowclone.

    I am really behind on adding these suggestions to the queue and writing new entries, but the SCDB *is* still alive.

  153. [X,] Y walk with me (Y := fire)

  154. “más vale X conocido que Y por conocer”;

    originally X = malo , Y = bueno This is the Spanish equivalent of “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, except the second devil is an angel in Spanish

    The English snowclone “better the X you know than the Y you don’t” is less common but not uncommon, and often X = Y

  155. “so many X, so little time”

    Origin? Unsure.

    I know I’m *purposefully* using it as a snowclone in the tag line for my network of search engines: each one dedicated to a different industry/topic…

    Hence: – so many beers, so little time – so many phones, so little time

    Consider it an insider’s joke from a long running follower of the Language Log site…


  156. Divine Xs of the Y[a-Ya] sisterhood

  157. just x it, and forget it!

    ronco ovens catch motto

  158. more X!

    SNL skit with christopher walkin “more cowbell!”

  159. X-orexia/X-orexic

    I’ve known tanorexics and have participated in weddingrexia.


  160. Another! X-ator as in:

    The Governator
    The Stainerator
    The Baconator (for real–at Wendy’s)

  161. That/this whole X thing.

    “I dunno how this whole gay-marriage thing”

    “I get that you’re into that whole zen thing but can’t you lose your temper just once?”

  162. Also, regarding the “much” thing above I’ve tended to hear it with adjectives, especially “jealous much?”. Other common ones are “drunk much?” or “bored much?”, usually asked of someone whose condition is pretty obvious.

  163. From the muddy banks of X (From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, Nirvana)
    Come to where the X is (Come to where the flavour is, Malboro)

  164. “By X I lay down and wept”

    Original X: the rivers of Babylon

    Psalm 137, KJV: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.”

    Other values of X: Leman (TS Eliot); Grand Central Station (Elizabeth Smart); the River Piedra (Paulo Coelho); Piccadilly Station (Tracey Thorn); Gloucester Docks (Ashley Hutchings); Glenmalure Park (Cork Examiner headline)

  165. Xing while Y. (“Driving while black.”)

  166. Period of Xing Yadv. (“Year of living dangerously.”)

  167. I’d like to X *her* Y.

    i.e. when seeing a hot female mechanic, “I’d like to check under *her* hood.”

  168. I was looking here for ‘not your father’s X’…but I see ‘daddy’s’, which I’ve never heard. I know it from the ‘not your father’s Oldsmobile’ ads of some time ago.

  169. I seem to be seeing “X Y is X” around a bunch. It may have started from some LOLcat-derived meme (“hungry cat is hungry” or similar), but I’ve definitely seen it used where Y is not “cat”.

    Kind of a pain in the butt to search for examples, though. 🙂

  170. “In X we trust”.
    Where X is the name of a person (i.e. “In Favre we trust”

  171. Ah, “X Y is X” seems to come originally from “Long cat is long,” a LOLcat with a stretched cat photo.

  172. “Get your X on”

    I recently spotted “Get your Smokey on,” an ill-advised attempt to make fire protection cool.

  173. Another one for you:
    It depends on what your definition of “X” is.

    It depends on what your definition of “lobbyist” is.
    It depends on what your definition of “torture” is.
    It depends on what your definition of “lie” is.
    It depends on what your definition of “landing under sniper fire” is.

  174. We’re not [exactly] talking X material here…

  175. “When XXXXs attack”

    As in, “When Animals Attack”

    When bad fashions attack
    When Internet memes attack …

  176. I’m not sure how popular one has to be before it is considered a snowclone, but I’ve seen a few variations on “The power of X compels you!” (where “X” was “Christ” in The Exorcist).

    This seems to happen a lot with memorable movie lines.

  177. “They shoot X, don’t they?” Originally from the book, then movie “They shoot horses, don’t they?”

  178. We are all X now.
    (from, I think, an immediately post-9/11 declaration by a European leader that “we are all Americans now”)
    Recent examples (from Google)
    We are all Katie Couric now
    We are all Keynesians now
    We are all Georgians now
    We are all multiculturalists now
    We are all photographers now
    We are all Wasillans now
    We are all torturers now
    We are all socialists now
    We are all Danes now
    We are all bourgeois now
    We are all Thatcherites now
    We are all peakists now
    We are all suspects now
    We are all sodomites now
    We are all mavericks now
    We are all prisoners now

  179. I imagine that’s from “we are all monarchists now,”
    re: Spain circa 1980.

  180. “Night of the Living X”

    Obviously from “Night of the Living Dead”…this seems to be quite common, but I do remember the one episode of “Beavis and Butthead” I actually saw had one of them reference “Night of the Living bands that suck” during a video. There’s also the Public Enemy song “Night of the Living Baseheads”, and South Park has a “Night of the Living Homeless” episode. There are myriad others.

    Also, “A(n) X’s work is never done.” Most commonly (and, I assume, originally) “A woman’s work is never done.”

  181. x. y. repeat.
    from shampoo instructions. Recently a beer billboard: “sip. enjoy. repeat.”

  182. Love in a/the time of X

  183. Straight outta X (:= city)

  184. Snowclones rule, OK!

    Later shortened to “Snowclones rule!”

    I think it started with football (soccer) clubs, but “X Rules, OK!” (or OK?) works for a wide range of X.

  185. [person’s first name] the [capitalized profession]

    as in “Joe the Plumber”

  186. I’d like to suggest “I was a teenage X”, originating probably with the film “I Was A Teenage Werewolf”:

    Further evidence of usage via Google:

  187. We’re here, we’re X, get used to it

  188. When good X’s go bad.

  189. x don’t y z, z y z.
    “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

  190. I’ve recently found myself using explaining that I have only enough knowledge of subject X to be dangerous (or embarrass myself) by saying “I can see X from my house”. People seem to immediately catch on.

  191. [City] X is the Paris of [Region] Y

  192. “X, baby, X!”– I think the original is “Burn, baby, burn!”, although recently it came to some prominence with Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill!”, to which Hillary Clinton responded “Jobs, baby, jobs!”

  193. That’s no X! That’s my wife!

  194. “The X of” where X = Sports Hero

    Let me illustrate:

    “The Wayne Gretzky of” returns a couple thousand hits. First page highlights include “of cricket spitting,” “of ukelele,” and naturally, “of footnotes.”

    Also consider “The Tiger Woods of” or “The Michael Jordan of” for similar hilarity.

  195. “Cometh the hour, cometh the X”

    Common in UK newspaper headlines.

    X originally = “man”
    Associated with, but prob. not originated by, Cliff Gladwin in a 1948 cricket Test Match

  196. Big X

    Where X = Oil, Tobacco, Pharma, Content or others.

  197. Here a [x], there a [x], everywhere a [x] [x]

    (Via bio of @mikeyk)

  198. The X, the whole X, nothing but the X.

    Originally X=truth, but found with plenty of other examples — see some of the top results for:

  199. Hershele Ostropoler

    X demands an explanation for this bullshit.

    (I’m not complaining about the site, I’m wondering where it comes from and who the original X was.)

  200. @Hershele:

    I haven’t seen that one before! It looks like X0 is the Council of Elrond: I’ll have to check the text, but I think this line–without “bullshit”, of course!–does actually fall in the Lord of the Rings somewhere. The snowclone version it was picked up somewhere on an Internet forum like YTMND or Fark or Photoshop Phriday or whatever and spread around that way.

    • Mark A. Mandel

      I’m away from books at the moment — out of town — but I’ve been reading and rereading LotR since 1963 or so, and I don’t recall any sentence in it like “The Council of Elrond demands an explanation.”

  201. lie back and think of X

    original X = England; apocryphal originator Lady Alice Hillingdon, 1912

  202. The X-est X to ever X something. (“The Mansomest Men to ever man something,” taken from this )

  203. I am become X, destroyer of Y!

    You could probably also get away with:
    I am become X, Y-er of Z!

  204. Never bring a(n) X to a Y-fight.

    Original X=knife, Y=gun

  205. X, Y X (Bond, James Bond)
    Mr. X, Y this Z (Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall)
    What would you do for an X? (Klondike bar)

  206. I’m on it like X on Y
    White on rice
    Lee Jeans (or ?) commercial: Says the guy to Buddy Lee: I’m on it like a hobo on a ham sandwich

  207. X-ified, to describe something that has been modified by X
    Wikified (marked up and linked)
    Pornofied (made into pornography)

  208. X [in / and] the city
    Sex, Saturdays, Summer

  209. St. Xricks
    St. Patrick’s (original), St. Baldrick’s (Childhood cancer fundraiser)

  210. Oh, oh! I’ve got one!!!

    “He/She who dies with the most X’s wins.”
    Like, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” or “She who dies with the most shoes wins.” etc.

  211. Here’s some:

    *Are you or have you ever been a/an X?
    *The thin X line
    *There’s no place like X
    *That old X of mine
    *The X tale of Y (where X is usually, but not always, “cautionary”)
    *The amazing adventures of X
    *A girl and her X
    *Abandon all X, ye who enter here
    *A river of X runs through it
    *X means never having to say you’re sorry
    *Some of my best friends are X
    *X, the Y (as in “Sabrina, the Activist”– generally the speaker is showing some indignation that X is now a Y)
    *Murder on X
    *Deliver us from X
    *X Unplugged
    *It’s a/an X X X Y

    I actually got a lot of these from a list of Angel and Sabrina the Teenage Witch episodes. For some reason the writers of those shows used a lot of snowclones.

  212. I thought of more!

    *From here to X
    *Tonight is the night I X
    *My X days are over
    *For the price of a/an X (often “a cup of X)
    *Born to be a/an X

    That’s all for now…

  213. At X, Two Y’s

  214. How to X a Y

  215. X and the Y of Z

    Example: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  216. you made your X, you Y in it

  217. well I’ll be X’d by a Y…!

  218. one X Y for a Z, one ~X Y for all Z-kind

    expanding on Neil Armstrong

  219. From Leacock:

    …The characters in thr plot of the problem are three people called A,B, and C. The form of the question is generally of this sort:…
    …A lays a wager that he can walk faster than B or C. A can walk half as fast again as B. C is only an indifferent walker. Find how far and so forth…
    In the early chapters of arithmetic their identities are concealed under the names John, William, and Henry, and they wrangle over the divisionof marbles. In algebra, they are often called X,Y, and Z, but these are only their Christian names, and they are really the same people…
    Bis a quiet, easy going fellow, afraid of A and bullied by him, but very gentle and brotherly to little C, the weakling. He is quite in A’s power having lost all his money in bets.
    Poor C…has not the strength to work as others can; in fact, as Hamlin-Smith has said, “A can do more work in one hour than Cin four…”

  220. If I had a W for every time I (heard/saw) an X Y-ing a Z, I’d be a (adjective) Q.

  221. The Y-Files, sneezin’ four, where Mully tells Sculder…

  222. Alistair McGregor

    how about:
    “It’s all fun and games until X”

  223. Eve, the quintessential gen-A chick…

  224. I see that “save the X, save the world” is labeled “not there yet” in the list above; I’ve just come across something that might help. It’s going to be slightly harder to track down, but I think the snowclone’s going in this direction:
    “X [article] Y, X the world,” as seen in this billboard for Iowa State University:
    “Change your address, change the world.”

    Looking forward to following up!

  225. Alas, poor X, we hardly knew thee.

  226. Oh, and also:

    X, don’t leave Y without it. (from the old Karl Malden American Express commercials).

  227. X is Y’s answer to Z

    Seen yesterday on “The cell phone is technology’s answer to the swiss army knife.” (Yes, they really wrote that.)

  228. X is your friend.

    Perhaps originated as “Google is your friend.”

    (Quick search provides “piracy is your friend”, “project portfolio management is your friend”, “the Patriot Act is your friend”, “infinity is your friend”, “fair use…”, “flash…”, “texture baking…”, etc., etc.)

    • I’m pretty sure it was originally “The Computer is your friend,” from the pen-and-paper RPG Paranoia.

  229. Already in the queue: “how I stopped X and learned to love Y” is more often seen “how I learned to stop X and love Y”

  230. Found a new one!

    The Seven Dwarfs of X

    A quick google search yields, beyond references to the original fairytale, the following for X:
    public opinion
    symbolic computation
    big tobacco
    corporate america

  231. I found a couple more:

    May the X be with you (Origin: Star Wars) [Original: Force] –*%20be%20with%20you%22%20-force&aq=&oq=
    Live long and X (Origin: Star Trek) [Original: Prosper] –*%22+-prosper&btnG=Search&aq=f&oq=

  232. I don’t see this one:

    Black, white and X(ed) all over

    Google search turns up:
    Black, white and red all over
    Black, white and read all over
    Black, white and dead all over
    Black, white and blue all over
    Black white and Blues (as in the music genre) all over
    Black, white and plaid all over
    Black, white and chic all over
    Black, white and fab all over
    Black, white and posh all over
    Black, white and injustice all over
    Black, white and jumping all over
    Black, white and technicolor all over

    I think it originally comes from that silly kids’ joke we use to teach children what a pun is…

  233. X is as American as [cherry / apple] pie
    Xo = violence, H. Rap Brown 1967 (cherry pie)

  234. Mmm, that’s good X

  235. N pound gorilla of X

    Indicating that something is the best in its given field. 800 is the most common number, but others have also been used. Quick search of “* pound gorilla of *” returned 34,100 results.

  236. This is not your father’s X. And a possible one … I drink your X.

  237. I take/like my X like I take/like my Y: Z

    “I take my coffee like I take my women: Black.”

    “I take my men like I take my coffee: bitter.”

    The origins are from the movie “Airplane!” and the phrase has been in continuous use since then.

  238. not sure if this counts, but speaking of the xkcd link on this website, does count as one? That is, X-ass Y (or X ass-Y, as the case may be).

  239. X and all that jazz.

    It’s almost everywhere, as articles or blog titles mostly.

  240. “More things need to X.” (alternates “More X needs to happen” or even just “More X” are also popular)

    It’s possible this is only something my friend Jimmy and I say, but it sure seems snowclonable.

    It’s typically said in response to something interesting happening, resulting in “More things need to [summarized phrase of interesting thing that happened]”.

    1) “More things need to brim with beef” (regarding last panel of
    2) “More people need to use bricks thrown through windows as communication”

  241. how about “X is next to godliness”?

  242. every ___ in the book

    I’m in the middle of replying to a thread on ANS-L (Amer. Name Socy) and thought to look here, but it wasn’t here yet.

    Raw ghits:

    1,130,000 for “every * in the book “.

    trick 273,000
    name 82,000
    dirty trick 8890
    crime 3050
    dirty name 610
    insult 372
    offense 122

  243. Richard Gadsden

    Two X, no waiting

    23,300 ghits

  244. There are a thousand jokes that take the form:

    How many X does it take to change a lightbulb?

    That’s definitely one. A little bit different, but a similar concept is “Knock knock, who’s there? X. X who? <>” You have a phrasal template that permits an enormous variety of jokes.

  245. Canonical version: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”
    (I didn’t find a reliable origin story; see for discussion.)

    General pattern: “[Suppose / what if] [someone] [gave / had / held] a [X] and [nobody/everybody] came?”

    Some variants omit the “what if”.

    Examples (from Google)
    “Suppose you gave a funeral and nobody came.”
    “They Had a Bailout and Nobody Came”
    “What If They Threw A Cask Festival, and EVERYBODY Came???”

    Less obvious, but arguably still examples:
    “What if a newspaper folded and nobody cared?”
    “Suppose They Gave An Inauguration And No One Could Get There”

  246. Pingback: Where’s Walden? » Dear lazyweb

  247. X-shaped hole. Typically “fill the X-shaped hole in one’s life”. The original metaphorical X is “God”, from Sartre; others include art, baby, father, Buffy, and Jermain Defoe.

  248. You can bring an X to Y, but you can’t Z.

  249. Here’s another one: Whose X is it anyway?

    Originally ‘Whose line is it anayway’, but now X can stand for: wedding, God, birthday, oil, job, Garamond, law, health, city etc.

  250. Xware.
    Used in computing, originally just hardware and software, expanded to firmware, adware, spyware, malware, scareware, etc.

  251. WHAT ABOUT:

    X, much?
    this is X-er than a Y on/in Z
    this is W-er than a X on/in Y
    in/on/where/when Z

    [one of those texas phrases….]

    [Hotter] than a [prairie dog] on a [treadmill] on the [Fourth of July]

    or [Nastier] than an [apple] in [my pants] on a [Tuesday] where [the sun don’t shine]

  252. This one is everywhere, I’m not sure it meets your criteria for a Snowclone over an Internet meme. It’s a false quote of Xzibit and his crew from Pimp My Ride putting nonsensical stuff in a car.

    Sup/Yo dawg, I/we heard you like X, so I/we put an X inside your Y [inside your X..]
    [(so you can Z while you A)].

  253. X is dead, X is gone, X don’t live here anymore – from a Kerli song called “Love Is Dead”

  254. X is like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.

    If you’re British you’ll hear a ton of variants on this. Used to describe anything that has passionate supporters and passionate detractors.

  255. Cheney called…he wants his empire back.

    Seen in a Credo Mobile ad:

  256. If you want X, you know where to find it.

    X is usually a programming language, software package, or other kind of technology standard. See–you-know-where-to-find-it-.html

  257. I’ve heard of X, but this is ridiculous!

    I’m mostly just curious where this phrase came from originally.

  258. thomasthethinkengine

    I’ve got two i can’t see above.

    The first is profane:
    I might be an X but I’m not an F-ing X. (nb. F is an abbreviation, not a variable).

    Originally from the film ‘from dusk til dawn’, Memorably snowcloned in the subversive Australian alt-pop outift TISM’s song ‘I might be a C but I’m not an F-ing C’. Now cloning on the web in various forms.

    Also X-zilla. for any frightening creature.

  259. Pingback: Snowclones « Thomas the Think Engine

  260. I’ll take X for $N, Alex.

    (“Jeopardy!” reference)

  261. wandering star

    I’ve got a new one – which I spotted twice today, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. “As go the X…” I’ve googled it and it often seems to occur in the format of “as go the X, so goes the Y”. Just wondering where it originated?

  262. Forget it, Jake, it’s X.

    (Roman Polanski’s Chinatown)

    • [In Re: Sarah, July 20, 2009]

      (1) Forget it, Jake, it’s X.

      I have actually seen a number of different variations on the signature phrase of Polanski’s film:

      (2) Forget it, X, it’s Chinatown.

      And even a combination of the two, which makes the reference more obscure.

      In some ways, “Chinatown” has become a symbol for bureaucratic quagmire.

      The few obvious references that I found of (2) (although I’ve seen many more), all explicitly anchor the line either by repeating the Chinatown line, in addition to coining a new one, or by simply referring to the film and its characters.

      In a twist, the top Google hit that does not do that is actually about Roman Polanski.

      Forget it, Roman, it’s Chinatown

      I also found one that refers to NYC Chinatown, but not to the film (set in LA).

      In any case, there have been many blog entries over the past year that make no explicit connection to Chinatown, Polanski or the film. One author (“Forget it, Hill–It’s Chinatown”) adds, in the end, “I shamelessly stole that headline from a reader,” which directly suggests wider distribution.

  263. What about “when you look into (the) X, (the) X also looks into you”?

    This search turns up a nice list of them including
    “When you look into the refrigerator, the refrigerator also looks into you”

  264. Sweet, sweet X

    Can’t find a definitive origin, but some examples:
    “sweet, sweet rum”
    “sweet, sweet summer”
    “Sweet, sweet Valencia oranges” – Family Guy

  265. Mr X, he dead.
    From, I think, “Mr. Kurtz, he dead”
    Variations from google:
    Mr Mehsud, he dead (Andrew Sullivan)
    Mr Debs, he dead (brothers judd blog)
    Mr Seinfeld, he dead.
    Mr Eko, he dead.
    Mr Elck, he dead.
    Mr. Roarke, he dead.
    Mr. Faust–He dead.
    Mr Picasso – he dead’
    Mr. Kelrast . . . he dead
    Mr Wilson. He Dead
    Mr. Kyoto, he dead
    Mr. Jones, he dead
    Mr. Buckley, he dead
    Mr Blair, he dead

  266. We’ll always have X. (Paris)
    Fuck X and the horse he rode in on.
    X, I think we’re not in Kansas any more.
    The X is on the roof. (From a joke with a lead up “the cat is on the roof” and a punchline “your mother is on the roof”.)

  267. Sorry if this is a dupe. I did a ctrl +f first.

    I X(ed) and all I got was this lousy Y.

  268. Why buy the X when you can get the Y for free

  269. Rumors of X’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

  270. “Y months/years ago I couldn’t even spell X, now I are one!”

    X is often misspelled as well. Googling yields for X ‘intelekshul’, ‘teacher’, ‘prgrmr’, ‘Canadian’, ‘Ph.D. Student’, ‘mathematician’, etc.

    I’ve never known the origin of this, though I wonder if it was part of Eddie Murphy’s “Velvet Jones” sketch on SNL.

  271. A couple of words on “X, baby, X!” [see post by Emily on Nov 16, 2008]

    There are several paths to its origin. Emily mentioned “Burn, baby, burn!” and this is well documented. There have been two associations in the early 1960s–radio (Magnificent Montague) and the Watts Riots. The connection is made explicit in the 40th anniversary BlogCritics article:

    This 1965 Newsweek marks one of the first national appearances of the 60s phrase “Burn, Baby, Burn.” Made infamous by the riots, it was first used by a disc jockey known as Magnificent Montague when he was working in New York and Chicago in ’63 and ’64. He’s shout it any time a piece of soul music got him excited, and he brought it with him to Los Angeles where his listeners appropriated it for the arson that marked the riots. During those terrible days, his station manager and even Mayor Yorty asked Magnficent Montague to give up his slogan. He did, at least while the fires were hot, changing to: “Have Mercy, Los Angeles!”

    The catchphrase also became the title of Montague’s autobiography.

    This was followed by a 1966 appearance of an Italian film Operazione Paura under the US title Kill, baby, kill. This may have been independent coinage or a direct tribute to Montague’s signature phrase through the lens of Watts. Or it might have been a combination of that and a coy connection to 1965 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. (Both films are listed in IMDB.)

    One interesting aspect is that “X, baby, X!” has evolved from X=verb only, and an imperative at that, to HRC’s “Jobs, baby, jobs!”, as Emily noted above. But it also went in a different direction. For example, ArsTechnica reporting on Ziff Davis (magazine publisher) selling used “Gone baby gone” as the title.

  272. Recently, Arnold Zwicky referred to some expressions as “snowclonelets”. (All the Google hits identify AZ’s posts either on his blog or on Language Log dating back to last December.) The meaning of the variant is not quite clear, but it just seems to be a shorter version of a snowclone–like a composite (X virgins, X rage, X porn) or a portmanteau (Xgate). Since the distribution and meaning of these is often considerably different from more substantial snowclone phrases, I was wondering if this term was going to catch on and start a separate sublist.

    As a side question, I was also pondering whether “Xman” compound (not the X-men characters) may not be one of the more ubiquitous snowclonelets, at least when it comes to moving from fictional superheroes (or arch-villains) to faux superheroes, if not for superheroes themselves. This one comes complete with its own self-parody (“Under-dog”) and license plates (Seinfeld’s “Assman” episode, where Kramer gets the wrong vanity license plate, intended for a proctologist).

  273. Sometimes a X is just a X.

  274. The whole “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme has really taken off in the UK recently (and, oddly, in Germany), resulting in the snowclone of:

    XX and YY

    …where XX and YY are both present continuous activities.

    Some examples:

    Get Excited and Make Things.
    Keep Spending and Carry On Shopping.
    Now Panic and Freak Out.

    Here’s a New York Times article on the phenomenon:

    And WikiPedia:

  275. For computer/consumer electronic failures: the “X Y of Death” (where X is a colour)

    Believed to have sprung from a Gary Larson cartoon with the Floating Head of Death, this has turned up in the following places:

    Windows (Blue Screen of Death, or BSOD – no reference needed)
    X-Box 360 (Red Ring of Death, or RROD)
    Mac OS X (Grey Screen of Death, with the Leopard release)
    Playstation 3 (Yellow Light of Death)

    Plus many more. In fact, there seems to be a generic “Screens of Death” wikipedia article.

  276. X Standard Time. Not actual time zones; X is typically an ethnicity, and the suggestion is that Xes have a somewhat casual approach to punctuality. I’ve seen X=Jewish a lot (since I am Jewish and thus move among Jews) and I seem to recall X=gay and X=Puerto Rican (ethnically, not GMT -4)

    The origin is straightforward but I wonder how widespread it is. I wouldn’t expect X=German or X=French

    • I have seen “X Standard Time” where X = Baptist, and also for particular corporate orgnizations, where (for instance) meetings have a “tradition” of never starting on time.

  277. I really don’t think that “If by X, you mean Y” counts as a snowclone, given that snowclones must imply a shared linguistic construction that at least resembles a trope.

    I don’t believe people use the phrase in that way–it’s just the most common way to snarkily quibble about a definition or way of interpreting a situation . Not at all like the others.

    • Actually, let me partially redact that statement.

      It CAN be used as a snowclone–but it is highly situational, and I don’t believe that’s its most common usage. Take the following two dialogues into account:


      “I think that Aqua Teen Hunger Force is boring and stupid”

      “… If by STUPID, you mean TOTALLY AWESOME!”



      “It’s not really a question of politics. We need a nationalized health care system to ensure that even the poor or unemployed can get the coverage they need.”

      “Sure, if by ‘coverage’ you mean some kind of ‘bronze’ plan that will offer $300 copays for dental procedures but will completely pay for all of your daughter’s abortions.”

      Not snowclone, as the sophomorish trope is not apparent in this example.

  278. I’ll never X, I’ll Y first!

    Just found today.

  279. “I’ll take X for $1000, Alex”
    Thanks for such a great database!

  280. X is the marmite of Y

    (i.e. within the field of Y, X is someone/something people either love or hate)

    Similar (but probably sufficiently different) to one already submitted above (X is like marmite). 392,000 hits on Google UK

  281. X? In my Y? It’s more likely than you think!

    sometimes this is shortened to just:

    X? It’s more likely than you think!

  282. “My other X is (a) Y” – often seen on bumper stickers (“My other car is a Porsche”), but has definitely morphed out of the auto realm.“my+other”+”is+a”

  283. “the X won’t Y itself/themselves”

  284. What about the phrase “One man’s X is another man’s Y” I didn’t see it anywhere on here, yet I found myself using it on my webpage “One man’s loser is another man’s Princess Peach.” I remember it from such sayings: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and morphed into sayings like “One man’s cardboard box is another man’s house”

  285. X Must Die
    I’ve heard of both Romeo Must Die and Tamburlaine Must Die. I wonder if it’s just restricted to “character from old play” must die or if it has gone further. Anyone know?

  286. Waiting for X. Where X is a person who is waited for, but never arrives.

    Waiting for Godot

    Waiting for Guffman (mockumentary)

    Waiting for Hockney (documentary)

  287. Man vs. X

    Actual examples:

    Man vs. Machine
    Man vs. Wild
    Man vs. Food
    Man vs. Debt
    Man vs. Media
    Man vs. Nature
    Man vs. Fat
    Man vs. Clown

  288. I searched, and apologize if these are duplicates:

    In like a(n) X, out like a(n) Y.

    I’ve got your X, right here, pal!

    X Uber Alles

    We will, we will X you.

    The “X” word (where X could be, and has been, every letter in the alphabet, but started out with “N”, then “B”, or was it “F”?).

    The portmanteau (snowclonelet?) I’m also watching is iX. Following the iPod, iPhone and iCarly, where attaching an “i” to the front of the word makes it “techy and hip”, but also can have an air of vapidity and mocking.

  289. And maybe you would also like a steaming hot cup of snowclone?

  290. I also like the “X Derangement Syndrome” construct.

    I’m not sure if it started with Clinton Derangement Syndrome, but if you google it, nearly every political figure or movement has opponents who suffer from “Derangement Syndrome”.

  291. Great moments in X

  292. Every time ___, a fairy dies in the forest | a fairy gets its wings | God kills a kitten.

  293. Five Pillars of X

    Once used almost exclusively when referencing the Islamic religion, but now can be found in a variety of contexts, mostly political or commercial (ie Obama’s Five Pillars of Education, five pillars of internet fundraising, five pillars of cloud computing, five pillars of success, etc.)

  294. “mano a mano”
    From Harold Feld’s first blog at HuffingtonPost (

    Comcast will also be able to join the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Until now, MPAA has been one of the few organizations able to go Trade Orgo a Trade Orgo with cable.

  295. Rob@ Baldrick is not a clone of Patrick, any more than Frederick is. It’s a real name.
    I must be tired. I found myself typing “It’s a real noam.”

  296. @Mark Mandel I agree “St Xrick’s” is weak, but “St. Baldrick’s” in terms of the cancer organization does seem to have been coined as bald + rick, because supporters of the organization shave their heads in support of cancer patients.

  297. You forgot the all-important “X Y is X.”

    That is, “Successful troll is successful.”

  298. Thanks X, ThX!

    (original BBC show “Look Around You”, in which X = ants)

  299. “Anyone for X?”


    I’m sure I’ve heard it in multiple uses, generally in print media, but am actually unsure if it’s adaptable enough to be a snowclone…

  300. Not for all the X in Y.

    Not for all the tea in China

  301. “the Xman cometh” (from O’Neill’s play “The Iceman Cometh”)

    I Googled the query “the *man cometh” and found about 3,390,000 hits.

    The first page of Google hits alone shows 9 variations out of 12 hits. That’s a lot of variation.

    * The Meatman Cometh
    * The Tax Man Cometh
    * The Monkey Man Cometh
    * The Dark Man Cometh
    * The Repo Man Cometh
    * The Yogurt Man Cometh
    * The H-Man Cometh
    * The ad man cometh
    * The Con Man Cometh

  302. Anatomy of an X

    originally “Anatomy of a Murder,” but used elsewhere.

  303. Hard to draw the line between snowclones and cliches, but here’s a nice collection of “leading the league in X” . . . cliches? snowclones? (all by one writer):

  304. X, Interrupted

    As in “Girl, Interrupted”, and now a New York Times feature – “New York, Interrupted” –

    Software, Interrupted –

    Hollywood, Interrupted

    A headline – “Mum, Interrupted” –

  305. The X formerly known as Y

    Obviously made popular by “the artist formerly known as Prince” but I’ve noticed it being used a lot since then.

  306. “I’ll see your X and raise you Y”

    (in analogy to poker)
    Heard when the speaker is trying to outdo the interlocutor. X is typically an accomplishment (or misfortune) that the interlocutor just claimed for themselves.

  307. Does this X make my butt look fat/big?

    Worst go to joke.. ever…..

  308. “every X and their brother” (an emphasis for ‘really everyone!’)

    Might need some further investigation whether the actual snowclone is “every X and their Y”, but I’ve seen it rarely with other Y’s than “brother”.

  309. X sehen und sterben. (German)
    (See X and die.)
    Means if you see X, and X is as good as it gets, you’re ready to meet your maker.

  310. They say X (jump), you say how Y (high).

  311. Not sure whether this really qualifies as a snowclone because the variants are usually phrases and not single words. The frame is this:

    “There’s a special circle of Hell for X.” or “There’s a special circle in Hell for people who/that X.” e.g., There’s a special circle in hell for movie reviewers. There’s a special circle in hell for people that punch the Easter Bunny.

  312. Ad “Men are from X, women are from Y”:
    Men are from Mars and women are from Jersey”

  313. I see this all the time in blog posts:

    N ways to X like a Y!!

  314. “Xs, like poets, are born, not made”
    “Xs are born, not made”

    See URL provided

  315. There’s an X for that. (From the Apple App Store’s catchphrase ” There’s an app for that.”) Googling “There’s an * for that” or “There’s a * for that” is interesting.

  316. Not sure if this qualifies a snowclone, but what about “Xless wonder”? I’ve always wondered what the original is.

  317. “All your X are belong to us”

  318. somone set them up a X.

  319. “X, and loving it.”

    The origin may be Mel Brooks’s “Dead and Loving it,” although I suspect it is older than it.

  320. I came, I saw, I Xed.

  321. “So long, and thanks for all the X”.

    Not sure if Douglas Adams originated it or if he had snatched it from somewhere else. But it is surely often used. One “famous” example is the NOFX album “So long, and thanks for all the shoes” and, for instance, I have recently seen a “So long, and thanks for all the NOMS” on – erm – icanhazcheezburger.

  322. Jon Andreas Andersson

    So you think you can X?

    Popularised by the US TV series “So You Think You Can Dance?”? I haven’t been able to find any earlier usage.

  323. Jon Andreas Andersson

    Being X

    From the movie “Being John Malkovich” (1999). Used typically as headline in a portrait interviews.

  324. Here’s a good one’s: On the 8th day, God created X

  325. You can but you can’t

  326. Things that make you go X

    (originated w/bad song:

    Now on rampant on Google: things that make you go: awww, huh?, pfft, wtf, etc.

  327. On “The iceman cometh” we there are also the “i-variant” (the ice axe cometh, the ipad cometh) and just today the interesting title “The Tax Man should cometh” (Ezra Klein’s Newsweek column”)

  328. X is a Y mistress.“*+is+a+*+mistress”

  329. Not sure about this one:

    America’s favorite X

    america’s favorite pastime (baseball)
    America’s favorite potty-mouthed comedienne (Sarah Silverman)
    America’s favorite food
    America’s favorite dancer
    America’s favorite pot-dealing soccer mom (Showtime’s “Weeds”)
    America’s favorite spokescandies (M&Ms)
    AAmerica’s favorite crusty, saucy, cheesy meal (pizza)

  330. There’s a/an X for that

    From Apple’s famous slogan. There is a lot of provenance now:“there’s+a”+”for+that”“there’s+an”+”for+that”

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  332. A few spring to mind…

    You want the X? You can’t handle the X!
    (Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men”)

    No X for you, one year!
    (Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi)

    X-apalooza (hopefully the source is self-evident)

  333. One that I saw in at least 3 forms only today(!) :

    (Why) I … and so should you.

    what is the origin ?

  334. Didn’t see this one: “When you need X, Y is there.” X may be a noun or an infinitive phrase.

    Unfortunately I cannot remember the original context for this, though I seem to recall the original Y having three syllables.

  335. Another one:
    X cannot into Y (from “Poland cannot into space”).

  336. X this (where X is an imperative verb)

  337. All that Xs is not Y.

  338. Adjective Noun is adjective

    I think this started with LOLcats. E.g., “Skeptical Cat is fraught with skepticism”

    But I mostly see it in its streamlined form. E.g., “Flexible Arduino is flexible”

    Apologies if this is already in the snowclone database, but I couldn’t think of a good way to search for it.

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  340. Please don’t squeeze the X.
    (Store manager George Whipple squeezed the Charmin from 1964 to 1985)

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  342. Hi,

    How about:

    – Fortune favours the X

    – The X shall inherit the earth.

    So overused in online media, along with the tendency nowadays to only write articles that can fit into lists (Top ten, Five of the best, How to).


  343. How about:

    The X shall inherit the earth.


  344. “Will the real [person’s name] please stand up?”
    From: To Tell the Truth

  345. the tango things, guys

    it’s need X to Y <tango


    Last X in Y <Paris

  346. “This/These X(‘s) are now diamonds!”
    from the Old Spice Man

  347. All your X are belong to us

    (original X is ‘base’)

  348. When in X, do as the X-ans do.

    (adopt the customs of the locals)
    Not sure the origin, but the original was Rome/Romans, of course. I’ve seen it with several geographic locations: Texas/Texans, Greece/Greeks, etc.

  349. “You don’t know from X.”

  350. X: The Missing Manual.

    I first saw these on O’Reilly tech books, and now it seems to be spreading: I just saw Your Money: The Missing Manual a few weeks ago.

  351. Flavored Birth

    Better than a (unpleasant assault) in the (sensitive area) with a (frozen/sharp/wet/rusty) (stick/carrot/mukluk/boot/poker/fish)

  352. X (person or thing) is alive and well and living in Y (place).

  353. was blind, but now I X

  354. what a difference a X makes

  355. “X for the X God, Y for the Y Throne!”
    From Warhammer, “Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne!”

  356. You show me X and I’ll show you Y.

  357. “I’m gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!” from Futurama (Yeah, well… I’m gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!)

    I’ve seen it used in the Snowclone format:

    “I’m gonna go build my own X, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the X!”

    To tame it down, you could even make it:

    “I’m gonna go build my own X, with Y and Z. In fact, forget the X!” with Y and Z being two very comically appealing things to the person.

  358. I put the X in Y
    (I put the ass in class, I put the ex in sex, etc.)

  359. Erin Brandeberry

    An X needs a Y like a Z needs an A.

    (“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Irina Dunn seems to get credit for this one.)

  360. X is so Y (where Y is a time in the past)

    Examples from Google: “The future is so yesterday”, “Class war is so last week”, “Walking is SO last month”, “Facebook is so last year”, “Twitter is so 2009”, “Passive storytelling is so 20th century”

  361. “waxing X”
    As in: “waxing political”, “waxing philosophical”, “waxing fanatical”.

  362. “I know that it’s true — I saw it on X”

    Common values for X:
    The Internet
    FOX News

  363. Is that an X in your Y or are you just happy to see me?

    This snowclone was originally coined by sex symbol Mae West. In February 1936, an LA Police Officer was assigned to escort her home after she returne from Chicago. At a railway station, she said to him “Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” She later replaced “pistol” with “gun” in a line to George Hamilton in her final Movie “Sextette.”

    The X is usually something that the person the deliverer is talkning to has on their person, and Y is usually an article of clothing. Fo example, in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” Dolores (Joanna Cassidy) says to Eddie (Bob Hoskins) when she sees Roger hiding in Eddie’s shirt “Is that a rabbit in your shirt or are you just happy to see me?”

  364. The X Instinct.

    Typically the title of a book or article that deals with the supposed evolutionary origins of some human characteristics (or sometimes just the psychology underlying the characteristic); it’s a play on Pinker’s The Language Instinct..

    In about 15 minutes of looking, I’ve identified the following values of X:
    protectionist (in the WSJ, natch)

    *The Interactional Instinct wins the “In Your Face, Pinker” award: it’s a book that advances the view that language is a cultural invention and that there’s no such thing as Universal Grammar.

  365. Here’s some:
    You should see my other X [car] (noun)
    Make like an X and Y [banana; split] (noun, verb/verbal phrase)
    X, it’s what’s for dinner. [beef] (noun)
    Where’s the X. [beef] (noun)
    X? Is that you? (usually a sarcastic reply with X being a famous person or character with those qualities)
    (That’s all very well,) but can/does it X? (verb)
    (That’s all very well,) but can/does it X Y? (verb, noun/noun phrase)
    No X for Y Z [country; old; men] (usually at least one of the original words is kept)
    I’m so X, I Y Z
    I’d hit it…with a X (where X is a weapon, implying literal use instead of slang)
    It depends on what you mean by “X”
    Is it X, or is it Y? [live; Memorex]
    Were you born a X, or did you have to work for it?

    Some proper nouns:
    X of Y-Zing (usually a weapon, like Sword of Troll Slaying)
    X YZ-er [Luke; Skywalker] (heroic characters, ordinary name, noun-verb-er)
    Count X-ula [Dracula] (names of vampires, like Chocula, Duckula, Blacula)

  366. Yes X, there is a Y (Virginia, Santa Claus)
    (X = proper name of address, often left as Virginia)
    (Y = something popular that may not be real)
    From the 1897 newspaper reply to a letter by an 8 year old girl whose friends told her Santa Claus wasn’t real.

  367. One that has been doing the rounds in software development circles is “Your/his X fu is not strong”, with the original line coming from 2003 film The Core: “Your kung fu is not strong”.

    This generally refers to a technical skill. Endings vary as “strong”, “not strong” and “weak”. Examples: “His emacs fu is strong” (he has awesome working knowledge of the emacs editor) and “Your Google fu is weak” (you’re not very good at using Google to find things).

  368. “n Xs for the price of one”
    “An X in the hand is worth two in the bush”

  369. And what part of X don’t you understand?

  370. The only thing worse than X is not X.
    (Originally from Oscar Wilde, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about,” X is usually a verb phrase.

  371. That’s the X dollar question.

    Originally a radio show called “The $64 Question,” which later became a famous (and scandalous) TV show, “The $64,000 Question.” It’s sometimes referenced without “64,” as in a recent NPR article on the federal budget that said “That’s the multi-trillion dollar question.”

  372. A couple I’m rather surprised not to see on the list:

    Take my X, please! (or PLEASE!)
    With X like these, who needs Y? (quick scan of first couple Google pages suggests Y more likely to change from initial version)
    Where we’re going, we don’t need X. (from the movie Back to the Future )

  373. Xers gotta X
    e.g. Haterz gotta hate, Playahs gotta play, or one triggered by recent events: Libyans gotta Lib.

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  376. Any sufficiently advanced X is indistinguishable from Y.

    Original: X = technology, Y = magic.
    Other examples:
    X = bureaucracy, Y = molasses.
    X = financial instrument, Y = fraud.
    X = hobby, Y = job.
    X = parody, Y = pretention.
    X = information, Y = noise.
    X = incompetence, Y = malice.

    • From Clarke’s Third Law (1973):
      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

      • “Any sufficiently explained magic is indistinguishable from technology” is a counter I vaguely remember reading. I think the template is something like “Any sufficiently X Y is indistinguishable from (true) Z”.

  377. What X can teach us about Y

    This one works best when X and Y are two otherwise completely unrelated topics, creating intrigue as to how X can possibly teach us about Y.

  378. What about “X envy” (as in Penis, but used for many other topics and most frequently not literally).

  379. Almost, but not quite, completely unlike X.

    • From Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker tri(+)logy, with “tea” as the original X… as I’m sure you know if you’re the Eyal I know. 🙂

  380. The fastest X in the west

  381. I’d like to propose “make X your bitch” as a snowclone I would love never to hear or read again. Why yes, I’m female.

  382. X did for Y what A did for B.
    “He did for bullsh*t what Stonehenge did for rocks”
    “Andrew Motion the man who did for modern British poetry what Pol Pot did for Cambodia.”

  383. X. You’re doing it wrong.

    No idea where this came from.

  384. what about this one? “You and your X can go f* yourselves!”

  385. Why is X smiling? Because he …

    Also interested in the origin but it seems to me like it’s just an old advertising gimmick that is now used a lot because of its nice retro feel …

  386. Do X to beat the band.

  387. Jonathan Kulick

    cultural learnings of X for make benefit glorious nation of Y

  388. It’s my X and I’ll Y if I want to.

  389. Out of the closet and into the X.

    Attested values of X include: classrooms, streets, Log Cabin [as in Republicans], woods, frying pan (a mixing of two snowclones, maybe?), YMCA, news, light, mainstream, cabinet, legislature, court, headlines…

  390. Someone mentioned X on steroids.
    There is of course the variant with”It’s like X on Acid”. .

  391. I am a machine that turns X into Y.

    Most often, X is “coffee”, but I’ve been seeing new ones out there.

    as in:
    I am a machine that turns coffee into computer software.
    I am a machine that turns food into ideas.

    More to be found if you google for:
    “i am a machine that turns” into

  392. Silly X, that’s not how you spell Y!

  393. X – it’s (they’re) not just for breakfast anymore

    Xo = Wheaties

    Hint: a useful test for snowclones is where possible (noun) insert “snowclone(s)”:

    “This is your brain on snowclones”

    “The first rule of snowclones is, you don’t talk about snowclones”

    “my kingdom for a snowclone!”

    also works with verbal forms: I snowclone therefore I am.

    In Soviet Russia, snow clones you!

  394. Dennis C. During

    That’s X for you. This is so common that it should be an idiom, but I find it in no print dictionaries or idiom glossaries (at OneLook).

    • If “That’s X for you” is a snowclone, what’s it a clone of? Not all idioms are snowclones

      • Dennis C. During

        So, on this list, an idiom template with slots X, Y, etc is not a “snowclone” unless it has an identifiable original representatives of X, Y, etc.

        Presumably the originals are from a relatively current catchphrase. Can a proverb be or contain the original? The King James version of the Bible?

  395. X, the Harvard of Y
    Stanford, the Harvard of the West
    Wheaton, the Harvard of Christian colleges
    “Arizona State, the Harvard of date rape” (
    “Harvard is the Harvard of Harvard” (
    UC Davis, the Harvard of wine-making (

  396. We have a snow clone t-shirt page we’re populating with funny snowclone shirts – maybe it could earn a blog post? 🙂

  397. I’ve seen this a few times:

    All X all the time

    A website called AJATT – All Japanese All The Time
    and a post on github that said: All your APIs all the time:

    A search on google for: “all * all the time” turns up 1.5 billion results

    I’m not sure what the original reference is but I’m curious it seems ubiquitous but I’ve only just noticed it’s a snowclone

    • To me it evokes “All news all the time”, which I associate with WINS-AM radio in NYC in the sixties. … Ah ha. Wikipedia confirms the slogan, the station, and the era.

  398. Do I X, or DO I X?

  399. “X, meet Y”
    where X and Y are personifications of the terms of another saying / idiom, so:
    “Pot, meet kettle.”
    “Misery, meet company.”
    “Devil, meet deep blue sea.”
    “Bad, meet worse.”

  400. Mark Mandel has kindly antedated several recent submissions: “it’s my X and I’ll cry if I want to” (or even “Y if I want to”); “any sufficiently advanced X is almost completely indistinguishable from magic” (this one has some offshoots too); and “all X all the time”. With that work done I should add posts about them here! 🙂

    And I agree that “that’s X for you” is no snowclone. It’s not really even idiomatic.

  401. “Xer? I hardly know ‘er!” (with a few “Xim? I hardly know ‘im!” variants)

  402. What about “Best/Worst. X. Ever.” ? I didn’t see it on the list.

  403. Elliot Winkler

    There’s a snowclone that’s been pretty popular in the past few years that I’m surprised not to see on the list: “I loves me some X”.

  404. An awful lot of these are idiomatic constructions that are not snowclones in any useful sense. If you put (at least a shortened form of) the definition at the top of the Home page and the Queueueue (oops) page, hopefully there’d be fewer such.

  405. Xing to Y, or Ying to X (i.e. are you living to die, or dieing to live)

  406. How is “all the X” not in the queue? It meets all the requirements of a snowclone does it not? And it seems to be the most popular thing around in my age group, on and off the internet.

    (To be clear, I mean the phrase used as hyperbole “I’m going to do all the things!” “I’m going to drink all the beers!” etc. No idea where this originated…)

    • The current meme of “ALL THE X” was made popular via Allie Brosh’s usage in Hyperbole and a Half:

      I think this is very snowcloney in this incarnation, but it isn’t quite idiomatic enough to cross the line officially. Give it a couple of years…

    • Yes to “snowclones”. When I saw the post, my reaction was something like “… What? …”

      I’ve never heard it or seen it. It may be all over your area and cohort, but it’s far from general. By way of comparision, what was your reaction to the first time you heard “Your shirt needs washed”? Or, if that construction is native to you, the first time you used it and somebody said “WHAT did you say?!”

      • I tend to accept and sometimes adopt locale-specific turns of phrase quite rapidly, but I know this one isn’t specific to a particular location, as I hear it from strangers in far-off places. I would believe it is age-specific, though, although that is the case for many snowclones on the list (all your X are belong to us). I will accept for now that its time has not come, but I strongly believe you will hear this one again, Mark.

  407. Have fun storming the X”

  408. Yes, “clean all the things” was the first place I saw it too, although I wasn’t sure if Allie got it from somewhere else. Anyway, everyone I know is doing it all the time now.

  409. Good enough for now. I wait with open mind… umm… I just had a thought, but it escaped through the window… 🙂

  410. “X alert”

    Since it’s so short, this snowclone isn’t easy to search for via google (or, I assume). The original phrase may have been “red alert”; variants include “Amber alert”, “Life alert”, “nerd alert”, “spoiler alert”, and, self-referentially enough, “idiom alert”. (Also, there are dozens if not hundreds of examples that can be found by doing a google search of “alert”)

    Almost all of these X’s are a single short (1 syllable) word.

  411. I’m shocked, shocked! to discover this Snowclone so far ignored:

    “shocked, shocked! to discover X…”

    From Claude Reins famous line in Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

    “The NY Times is shocked! shocked! to discover that doctors are being bribed by drug companies”

    “Democrats shocked, shocked! to discover Obama is passive.”

  412. I would like to submit a (possibly) uniquely Australian entry.

    Can’t X Can’t Y. Variations include substituting either “can’t” for “can”.

    It’s used exclusively (I think!) in cricketing journalism, and originated with a famous sledge on Scott Muller in 1999 “can’t bowl can’t throw”.
    For this history, see: and

    Now it’s incredibly common. See:
    “Can play, can’t behave”:
    “Can’t bowl, can bat”
    “Can’t play, can earn”
    “Can’t bat, can’t bowl”,,

    And so on.

    • ‘Can’t X Can’t Y. Variations include substituting either “can’t” for “can”.’

      Don’t you mean “replacing either…”?
      “Substitute X for Y” means “Y is there, change it to X”.
      “Replace X with Y” means “X is there, change it to Y”.

      Sorry if this seems picky, but horrible things can happen (and have) when these get confused, especially when the”[preposition] Y” part is left to context. “Replace X throughout” ≠ “Substitute X throughout”!

  413. For any task that only requires 2 steps (X and Y) to accomplish:
    Step 1: X
    Step 2: Y
    Step 3: PROFIT!

  414. Apologies if these are already here but: (1) I believe the original of the “bad x, no Y” is not “bad cop, no donut” but “bad dog, no biscuit”. But the cop version is probably the most popular sequel and the one that launched it as a meme. (2) “X is as X does” – may indeed have been used in Forrest Gump, but “Handsome is as handsome” does” is Older Than Dirt, or at least older than me. And please be sure to speak of “Special circles OF Hell”, not “special circles IN Hell” for X who Y–the reference is to Dante’s Inferno. (the one usually referenced is the Ninth Circle.)

  415. Seconded, all three. (I’m not as old as dirt, but I am older than most of the people I see on the street.)

  416. Shit Xs say.

    Examples: “Shit VCs say”, “Shit New Yorkers say”, “Shit brides say”, “Shit redditors say”

  417. “From the people who brought you X”

    A line in advertising for new products (movies, cars, etc.) from a company already known for a previous product (the value of X), often used with the implication that the new product Y is as lousy as X, e.g. “From the people who brought you hope and change…” . Jerry della Femina wrote a book about advertising titled *From Those Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Pearl Harbor* (a line he proposed for an ad intended to sell a Japanese product in the US); I am not sure whether that is the origin of the snowclone.

  418. How about 2 Xs, 1 Y? I’m surprised that after all this time no one’s come up with that one as far as I can tell from a few Ctrl+F searches. Hopefully its origin should be relatively clear.

  419. “We Need To Talk About X” (from the book/movie, We Need To Talk About Kevin.)

  420. “Die, X Scum!” is one I’m having trouble finding any info on. It came up in a discussion about this (in)famous tattoo:

    It was my contention that “die X scum” implies aggression towards any X, rather than just the X that happen to be scum – to me, the latter seems to be a technically “accurate” interpretation, but not one that matches the connotation the term normally has. “Die, Imperial scum!” doesn’t sound like it makes exceptions for the stormtroopers that are just trying to put their kids through college. I couldn’t find any existing discussions online to back this stance up, though.

  421. In a world where X.

    Coming from background movie narrators, “In a world where anything could happen”, “In a world where aliens had taken over”, etc.

    The phrase was made famous by Don LaFontaine.

  422. X is X
    like in “Work is Work” or “Life is Life” or “Dylan is Dylan” or “women are women” … the ultimately irritating tautology

    Don’t X me
    like in “Don’t truth me!” (see K.Vonnegut in the sirens of Titan)

  423. Also “Learning from X” (Learning from Las vegas, ..)

  424. “Someone says ‘I have n problems. I know! I’ll use X.’ Now they have n+1 problems.” Widely known to the computer programming community with X = “regular expressions” and n = 1; attributed to Netscape engineer Jamie Zawinski, though there are antecedents. I dub it “Zawinski’s Snowclone”.

    • I know that one–it’s in the queue already. 🙂

    • Why did this come to my email as “Nouveau commentaire sur The Snowclones Database. johnwcowan commented  on The queue . En réponse à snowclones:”? If it’s just because you have your email configured for French, no problem. If not… whiskey tango foxtrot query bang

      • I just checked the language settings and WordPress tells me it’s “en – English” all over. Whiskey tango foxtrot indeed. I suppose it’s a WordPress bug.

  425. I always thought that “Great X’s ghost” came from the old B&W Superman tv series (the newspaper editor). Are you sure it’s a Robinism? Will you update these snowclones when new data come to light?

  426. would “Will X for food” be a good candidate?

  427. Only X can save us now.

    Where X = kale, God, Rock & Roll, Jah, howitzers, love, the fiscal policy, the devil …

  428. X much? (Noun or adjective)

    Everytime you X, a Y Zs (ie every time you lie, an angel dies)

  429. I was going to suggest “Just when you thought it was safe to go back to X / do X again” (tagline from Jaws 2, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water”) but it doesn’t seem to have moved into general usage as I thought; most refs to it in Google are still in some way connected to sharks.

  430. X{e|i}ty X (like blinkety blink, spamity spam)

    • I don’t see it as a snowclone. As a productive construction indicating continuous repetition, possibly with a sense of “trivial” or “annoying”, it goes at least as far back as “Yakety Yak”, a hit song in 1958 ( But there are lots of such constructions. … “Other way back, you’re on the wrong track / Make your feet go whickety whack” is part of a dance caller’s instructions to the dancers; maybe the title will come to me in a while.

  431. So I did what any X would do. I Y (something most X would not do)

  432. Here are some that I have noted recently:
    Welcome to X (or X-town), Population: You.
    X ALL THE Y — this comes from Hyperbole and a Half’s “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!”
    Just another X Y (WordPress site, Perl hacker)

  433. X time for Y.

    I’d like to know the origin of this one.


    Bedtime for Bonzo (movie title)
    Springtime for Hitler (Mel Brooks…)
    Spacetime for Springers (Fritz Lieber story title)

    I suspect they all refer to some cultural archetype, but I don’t know what.

  434. Definitely “X motherucker, do you Y it?”

    It’s from Puplfiction, where Samuel L. Jackson goes, “English, motherfucker, do you speak it?”

  435. I didn’t choose the X live, the X live chose me.

    • Do you mean “life”?
      “Live” with long “i” (as in “alive”) is an adjective, and “live” with short “i” (as in “give”) is a verb. Neither of them makes much sense and I’ve never encountered either.


    I used to be a X like you, then I took a Y to the Z.(original:I used to be an adventurer like you, the I took an arrow to the knee.)

  437. I used to be an X like you, but then I took a Y to the Z.

  438. How about: take me to your X (where X is an authority figure or a homophone of “leader”)

  439. Sorry if I just missed it, but I didn’t see “X is a Y, until it isn’t”. A quick google search gives many examples:
    “Sanchez is the Starter for the Jets, until he isn’t”, NY Times Oct 10 2012
    “Twitter is all in good fun, until it isn’t”, NY Times Feb 12 2012
    “A Rose is a rose, until it isn’t”, Scientific American blog, May 3 2012

  440. I don’t usually X, but when I do, I Y. (Orig: x=drink beer, y=drink Dos Equis)

  441. Worst “X” ever (catch phrase for comic books guy from The Simpsons). 99.9% sure it’s not already listed.

  442. Jürgen A. Erhard

    I’ve got (an) X, and I’m not afraid to use it.

  443. “Stop trying to make X happen!”

  444. Go ahead, make my X.

  445. Go home X, you’re drunk!

  446. “A very X Y”
    Such as “A very potter musical” or “A very Brady Christmas”

  447. Lack of X on your part does not constitute a Y on my part.

  448. X: it’s not just for Y anymore.

    On the Apr 6, 2013 episode of This American Life, Ira Glass said, “Whispering, it’s not just for libraries anymore.” At the 2011 Tony Awards, Neil Patrick Harris sang about theatre, “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore!” There are many hundreds of other examples.

    The original of this form may be a commercial for orange juice (in the early ’70s?), attributed to the Florida Orange Growers Association: “It’s not just for breakfast anymore.”

  449. Googling “I didn’t choose the * life” (, the * life chose me) does log a lot of phrases: thug seems to be the origin, followed by pug, rug, snug, fangirl, sloth.

  450. a new(ish) one: some people when confronted with N problem(s) think: I’ll use X. Now they have M problems.

  451. @pyropunk a variant of that one’s actually been in the queue for a while: A lot of people, when they have a problem, say ‘I know, I’ll use X’. Now they have two problems.It’s generally attributed to Jamie Zawinski:

  452. Man, everything I knew about snowclones is wrong.

  453. Xers gonna X

  454. “Can the subaltern X” is a sort of snowclone in academia, and to a limited extent outside. The original is the Gayatri Spivak essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” It is a convenient template that can be used to headline a piece on any marginalized group doing anything, basically. Some examples from Google:

    In papers and books: Can the subaltern eat, sing, see, drive, vote, right wrongs, ride, remember, play, shop, and what I think is a parody, “Can The Subaltern Shave?”
    Elsewhere: Can the subaltern draw, perform, tweet, bark, as well as a mixtape on soundcloud called “Can the Subaltern Freak?”

  455. “Too many X, Not enough Y.”
    Idiomatic expressions-
    –“Too many chiefs, not enough indians”
    (apparently goes back to 18th century colonial U.S.?)

    Popular song-
    Undun by Guess Who (Randy Bachmann, 1969) — “too many churches, not enough truth”
    Game Got Switched (Ludacris) –“Too many n#$%^s, not enough hoes”

    possibly many others.


  456. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy X. And that’s kinda the same thing. (unknown, X typically = marshmallows, ice-cream, beer etc.)

  457. 10/10 would X again (X = buy (original)/read/have intercourse with). Originates from ebay.

  458. ‘Other X are available’ – UK only (I think): dates back to liberalisation of tv listings magazines, where BBC showed TV spots advertising the Radio Times (owned by the BBC), but (as a non-commercial broadcaster) did not take ads for other listings mags. BBC was forced to mention that other mags were available. (For details, see

  459. I never met a[n] X I didn’t Y.

  460. Just found this site…pretty fascinating. Read through the queue but didn’t see this one: I don’t always X, but when I do it’s a Y. From Dos Equis’s most interesting man in the world.

    Not sure how widespread this is…could just be my friends and me. 🙂


  461. “It’s X’s world, we’re just living in it.”
    OR “It’s X’s Y, we’re just Z-ing in it”

  462. I’ve got N problems, but the X ain’t one.

  463. What about “I know from X”, where X is a noun other than “experience” or a place referent? Examples:
    “I was a wrestler for 13 years. I know from pain.”
    “I’m from New York, I know from pizza, and this is some damned fine pizza.”

  464. “I’m all about X.”
    Example: “I’m all about snowclones.”

  465. How about “More X, more Y!” As in “Mo’ money, mo’ problems!” Or, “Mo’ snowclones, mo’ problems!” or “Mo’ servers, mo’ problems!” … etc

  466. Same question: What’s it cloned from? The construction NP1, NP2, where each NP is a noun phrase and the implication is that NP1 is a cause or condition that will bring about NP2, is common in different languages. What immediately comes to mind is a Yiddish proverb: “Klayne kinder, klayne tzuris; groyse kinder, groyse tzuris”: “Little children, little troubles; big children, big troubles.”

  467. It’s cloned from the Notorious B.I.G.’s hit song, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ problems.”

  468. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems” is now an often (and snowcloned) lyric from a Notorious B.I.G. rap song of the same name.

  469. Here is an example of Al Madrigal using this snowclone in a recent story on The Daily Show.

  470. Okay, then. This isn’t my website, but if you provide some more examples you’ll have provided a snowclone.

    • I’ve seen it enough that it could conceivably be considered a snowclone. I think the “mo’ problems” part is obligatory, however, so “mo’ X, mo’ problems” is the form, not “mo’ X, mo’ Y”. Needs more research…

  471. Seems to me, seanreads, that if you can supply a few more examples of “Mo’ X, mo’ problems”, you’ll have accomplished that research.

    A second thought, with a question for our host: If enough examples show up of “Mo’ X, mo’ Y” (however many “enough” means) used by people who don’t normally use “mo'” for “more”, wouldn’t those be evidence for that XY snowclone?

  472. Erin Jonaitis

    Sometimes you’re the X, other times you’re the Y? (I have seen: hammer/nail, windshield/bug, pigeon/statue)

  473. David Stemmer

    When I hear the word X, I reach for my Y.

    The original is usually approximated as “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun”. There are a couple of alternate examples here:

    This one has a bit of a nasty history. It was coined by the Nazi writer Hanns Johst. The full quote is “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning!” “Whenever I hear of culture… I release the safety catch of my Browning!”

  474. “Say goodbye to X, say hello to Y.”

  475. “X: based on the novel Push by Sapphire.”

  476. I’ve got an X with your name on it.

  477. “If you die, can I have your X?”

  478. “It’s not about X, it’s about ethics in Y”, or “Actually, it’s about ethics in Y” (where X is a form of institutional prejudice, and Y is any subject, originally “games journalism”)

  479. I’m surprised you don’t have “The X that can be Y is not the Z X”. Originally from Laozi’s Tao Te Ching, the two opening lines. Y is usually a verb.

  480. Oh, and another one: “X is not the answer.”, followed by “X is the question. ‘Yes!’ is the answer.”. Originally ‘violence’.

  481. And to the “X City”/”X-ville” one you can add “X-o-rama”.

  482. “X, I Y that.”

  483. These are not your father’s X.

    (I tried searching for it; if it’s here somewhere and I missed it, sorry :))

  484. ‘[person] was all X and y’

    seems to have originated from ‘She was all angles and bones; she was nearsighted; she squinted; her hand was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard.’ in To Kill A Mockingbird

    occurs with good frequency in profile feature articles, and possibly ‘character sketch’ creative writing exercises

  485. Not being a fan to ANY degree if ‘tap’ music (an oxymoron if I ever stumbled on one) I ran across this one a while back which I thought would be a promising ‘snowclone’, to wit:
    “Rap is to music as Etch-A-Sketch is to art.”
    Snowclone morph:
    ” X is to Y as P is to Q.”

    • I don’t think you’ve been hearing the right rap–some of the wordplay there is as clever as anything you can find in the English language. (and other languages for that matter.)

      but your example is well-formed as a representative of its type.

  486. Xs..,who knew?
    From “Tangled” Originally “Frying pans…who knew?” Much use in our corner of the world, at least. 🙂

  487. Someone’s Xin’ Lord, kum bah ya.

  488. “Not your X’s Y.” Starting with, I believe, “Not your father’s Oldsmobile,” this gets trotted out in different forms — most recently NPR had a piece titled “Not your abuelita’s mariachi.” There’s also Not Your Father’s Bourbon (alcohol brand name), Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, and many ad taglines (“Not your father’s Star Trek”).

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