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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cupboard love?

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Cupboard love
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Cupboard love" is an English phrase referring to affection that is given purely to gain a reward.

The term derives from the way in which a cat will give a cupboard containing its food superficial "love" (which is not normally exhibited) when it wants to be fed.[citation needed] The phrase is most often applied to human activity, for example when a child will say "I love you so much" before or after requesting a treat, for example an ice cream.


Is it recognised in the US as the same thing? I am thinking of using it as the title of my next book, but don't want to start off with a title no one outside of the UK knows what it means.
 

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This is the first time I've heard of that idiom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ah, I feared as much. What is the term in US when a child only loves you for what they are getting from you, e.g toys, sweets, bedtime extentions?
 

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Does it matter if we know what it means? As the author, it's your job to provide readers with the meaning within the work itself. It sounds like an interesting, attention grabbing title to me. I don't need to know what a title's meaning is before picking up a book. But I do expect to understand why the title was chosen once I've finished reading the book.
 

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I'm from Ohio, and I can honestly say that I've never heard that phrase before. Most in Ohio probably wouldn't know what it meant, either.

I'm having difficulty thinking of something we have the means the same thing, especially if it's a child. Golddigger wouldn't really work here, LOL!

I think maybe Keith might be right, too, though. Not knowing what the phrase means might even draw people into the book.
 

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I agree, it may not be important that we know the phrase when we first see the book, as long as we understand the title's meaning by the end. It's an interesting title and may draw in readers just so they can find out what it means. I tried to think of a similar phrase but I'm not coming up with anything that fits. The ones I can think of--golddigger, sugar daddy--really wouldn't work in that situation, LOL.  ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
keithdbz said:
Does it matter if we know what it means? As the author, it's your job to provide readers with the meaning within the work itself. It sounds like an interesting, attention grabbing title to me. I don't need to know what a title's meaning is before picking up a book. But I do expect to understand why the title was chosen once I've finished reading the book.
Yes your right. Thank you.

No Shana, not the same.. ;D
 

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I'm in Vermont on the east coast of the US and not a familiar phrase to me either.  But I'll tell you what I thought when I first saw it.  I thought it referred to a Mom who was always showing her love by feeding us something special.  I know that whenever I felt bad about something, Mom would make up one of my favorite meals for dinner that night. :) 

I think it is a cool title and don't worry about us Yanks...we'll catch on eventually. LOL
 

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"I don't think that title will work in the States."

And why not, because we're fat, lazy americans who can't pick up a dictionary? It may not be as attention grabbing as Dating my Vibrator, but it is intriguing none-the-less.
 

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North Louisiana (which is in the South ;)) and never heard of it.  The only similar term that sprang to mind is "fair weather friend", but that's a different connotation.  That's someone who's true-blue while you're on top, but if you were to suffer a reversal of fortune they'd drop you like a hot rock.  Hrrrrm.... we do have a phrase "buttering up" or "butter So-and-So up".  That phrase would be used like this:  "You're just buttering me up because you want me to give you a cookie / let you go out this weekend / insert desired outcome."

Hope this helps :)

Agree with Jeanne - I thought the same thing.  Lots of folks do equate food with comfort / love / caring.
 

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Cali girl here and obviously I haven't read enough British writing.  I had NO clue what that meant.  Honestly, I thought, "That is an interesting title."  It definitely made me want to read your story description, but probably not in the way you are wanting.

Maybe consider a US only title?  They do that all the time.  Harry Potter's first book comes to mind.
 

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DC area here, although I grew up in NJ, and also have lived in NC, SC, and Arizona.

Have never heard the term, but I don't see why you can't use it. It's interesting enough to make me intrigued to learn more. Who cares whether I know what it means at the beginning of the book, as long as I know what it means by the end.

I read plenty of British chick lit, and there are lots of Brit slang that I do know by now as a result, but even those that I don't, I can generally figure it out from context...or can Google it myself if I'm really curious.
 

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I had no clue what it meant. I live in Michigan.

If I were shopping on Amazon for a book to read, would I take the time to look up the expression to find out what it meant? Probably not. Does that make me lazy?

I could see the title working IF you could find the right image for the cover. Perhaps if it was a picture of a child somehow illustrating the definition...?

Perhaps a summary/blurb of your story would be useful. Maybe then we could brainstorm some alternatives.
 

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I agree with so many above.  I had no idea what the phrase meant (as mentioned, "buttering up" would be our equivalent), but I still found the title intriguing, and that's what's important.  Getting people to click on that cover and read your book description is what you want.  I think "cupboard love" can get you there.
 
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