Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. I’m Feifei.
Rob And I’m Rob.
Feifei You’re looking a bit angry Rob, are you OK?
Rob Not really. I was feeling hungry earlier so I thought I would treat myself to one of those huge ‘luxury’ hamburgers from the café.
Feifei Oh yes. The double-decker ones, with onions and gherkins, in a sesame seed bun. Yum! So why are you angry?
Rob Well, when I got it out of the box, there was no burger, just the bun!
Feifei Oh dear. No burger! You could call it a ‘nothingburger’.
Rob Ha ha! Yes, I suppose you could.
Feifei Actually, the word ‘nothingburger’ can also be used to describe other things too. If something seems good or important but turns out not to be, we can call it 'a nothingburger'.
Rob Well, my burger certainly wasn’t what I expected. Can we hear some more examples of this word, please?
Feifei Sure. Feast on these…
Examples I was worried when our boss called an emergency meeting, but it turned out to be a nothingburger.
The weather reporter warned we were in for a storm and should stay indoors – but it was a nothingburger.
All the hype about the new fashion store was a nothingburger – it was just like the old one!
Feifei You’re listening to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English and we’re looking at the word ‘nothingburger’. It’s used to describe something that was expected to be important but turns out to be insignificant. It’s used figuratively and not really to describe Rob’s non-burger!
Rob What’s that? You’re saying my non-burger isn’t a nothingburger?
Feifei I’m afraid so. It really is used to describe important situations that turned out to be insignificant. It can also be used to describe a person with little or no importance. Like you, Rob!
Rob Ha ha. Well, I think I’d be more important if I went and bought you a ‘luxury burger’ from the café?
Feifei Hmmm, maybe. Just make sure there’s a burger in the bun this time!