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I found the word, ‘toasty-roasted’ in the article of the Art section of Time Magazine reporting the reputation of the recently released movie ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ under the title, ‘Box Office: Why Cowboys & Aliens Got Smurfed. The corresponding lines read:

“A farrago of live action and animation directed by mixed-media master Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo, Beverly Hills Chihuahua) and starring Neil Patrick Harris as the main human, the Smurfs movie got toasty-roasted by the critics: a hapless 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes.”

From the context of the above sentence, I (could easily) guess ‘get toasty –roasted’ means receive ‘harsh criticism or grossly underrated’ by the critics. If my interpretation is wrong, please correct me. Meanwhile I checked the exact definition of the word on both Cambridge dictionary and Merriam-Webster online, neither of which has registered ‘toasty-roasted.’ while the latter shows the definition of ‘toasty’ as ‘pleasantly and comfortably worm accompanied with the example - ‘The room was nice and toasty’ which appears to be remote from being 'toasty-roasted' to me.

Is ‘toasty-roasted’ a popular English word? I’m asking this because I was unable to find the word in dictionaries available.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You're on the right track by breaking this into "toasty" and "roasted", but you went astray in going with the first definition of "toasty" from the dictionary.

The term "toasty-roasted" is sort of a play on the primary meaning of roast ("to cook"). In this context, as you correctly deduced, it means "criticized it very thoroughly", or (to expand upon the cooking aspect of it) "roasted it from every angle until it was cooked all over", in much the manner of cooking a piece of toast until it is thoroughly browned.

So the critics basically found something bad about every single aspect of the movie, assigning it a dismally low rating.

As to whether it is "well-received" English, the term sounds very childish, not the kind of thing you would normally expect to hear from anyone over the age of perhaps 12 or so. On the other hand, since the review is of The Smurfs, which is ostensibly a children's movie, perhaps the writer thought the term was humorously appropriate in context.

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Thank you very much. This is an aside: Interestingly enough, we have an exactly same expression – Kongariyaku (こんがり妬く) in Japanese with ‘toasty-roasted’. But it’s only used by grown-ups, not under 12. Because it means ‘roasting jealousy’ conceived by a woman against her husband and/or her husband’s girl friend when the woman suspects if they have an intimate relationship. –  Yoichi Oishi Aug 1 '11 at 19:34

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