what's cooking

Idioms & Phrases

what's cooking

Also, what's new (with you); ; what gives. What's going on, what is happening, as in What's cooking at the office these days? or What's new at your house? or Why are all those cars honking their horns? What's up? or Are you really going to France next week? What gives? The first expression, slang from about 1940, transfers the process of preparing food to other processes. The first variant, a version of "what news are there," dates from the same period and was given added currency by a popular film and song, What's New, Pussycat? (1965); the title itself became an idiom for a time, what's new, pussycat? The second variant, a colloquialism from the first half of the 1900s, gained currency in the 1940s from Bugs Bunny cartoons in which the rabbit repeatedly says "What's up, Doc?" The last variant, what gives, may derive from the German equivalent, Was gibt's? Slang from about 1940, it is also used to mean "how are you," as in Hello Jackwhat gives? Also see what's with.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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