I found this phrase "Please leave the tomatoes at home" in an email. On searching online I found it used in several places which are related to inviting people for an event.

What exactly does this phrase mean? I am guessing it's meaning to be like "come without any things which can be a distraction for the event happening"

  • 7
    It is probably a tongue-in-cheek reference to the proverbial custom of throwing rotten tomatoes at a performer or speaker when the crowd decides they don't like them and wants them off the stage. And your email writer realizes: you can't throw 'em if you don't have 'em.
    – Jim
    Aug 20, 2013 at 5:41
  • Tomatoes: slang term for women.
    – MetaEd
    Aug 20, 2013 at 5:47
  • Huh..., I never knew that. Interesting.
    – Jim
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:00
  • @MετάEd- Do you think that's what they meant here: duregger.net/musings/the-king-and-the-jester-and-i
    – Jim
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:03
  • I think in these contexts of email and plays @Jim 's 1st comment makes more sense.
    – Jithin
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


Jim's comment is accurate. it means "come with good mood" - bringing tomatoes with you to an event means you expect the event to "suck" and intend to punish the event organizer/performer by throwing tomatoes on them.

  • Please correct typos :)
    – Jithin
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:42
  • I hope its better now I am very dislectic and English is my 3rd language.
    – Nahum
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:46

This is the same practice referenced in the name of the movie review site: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/

The suggestion is that your review might serve the same purpose as tomatoes you would have thrown.

The practice was common during the Vaudeville era, a time when over half the US population were farmers, and before movies and TV displaced live performances. Stand-up comedians still reference throwing rotten vegetables, their form being basically unchanged from their Vaudeville predecessors. So it is an interesting result that comic TV and movies seem to most reliably represent this practice. Everyone from the Marx Brothers to Robin Williams is represented in TV Tropes excellent list of examples:


  • 1
    This is much older than Vaudeville. I believe the custom was commom even in Shakespeare's time.
    – Charles
    Aug 20, 2013 at 20:35

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