What is not to like?

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What is not to like? : Phrases


A rhetorical question, suggesting that what is being spoken of is without fault.



This is an American phrase and has been in use there since at least the 1970s, possibly earlier. It has the sound of a Jewish rhetorical phrase of the 'what am I, chopped liver?' variety.

The earliest example of it that I've found in print is from a piece in The Cumberland Times, July 1971, in which several prominent Americans were asked what they liked about America. Bob Hope's response included this:

What do I like about America? The torch on the Statue of Liberty has been my Aladdin's lamp. I rubbed it and have received bounty and blessings beyond anything I could have dreamed or asked for. I cast a few crumbs upon the water and got the whole bakery. What's not to like?

The phrase was widespread enough by 1974 for it to have been included, with no explanation of meaning, in popular cartoons, for example, this from The Lowell Sun, August 1974.

'What's not to like?' has spread to other English-speaking countries. The 'what's not to love?' variant, which is also commonly heard in the USA and elsewhere, appears to be later.

The phrase is now used, in the USA at least, ironically, i.e. it is applied to things which the speaker doesn't consider in the least bit likeable.

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