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eat one's cake and have it, too

Also, have one's cake and eat it, too. Have a dual benefit, consume something and still possess it, as in Doug was engaged to Ann and still dating Jane; he was trying to eat his cake and have it, too. This metaphoric expression is often put negatively, as it already was in John Heywood's proverb collection of 1546: “You cannot eat your cake and have your cake.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.