I am trying to think of catchwords or phrases related to a place being too busy. Something catchy.

Examples I've found on the internet: packed, crammed, jammed, packed-like-sardines, choc-full, etc..

Thanks and hope this question is suitable for this board


Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, third edition (2008) has this entry for "to the gills":

to the gills INFORMAL used in expressions to mean completely full: By the time the fourth course was served, I was stuffed to the gills. • The restaurant was packed to the gills.

Another vivid phrase is "as close [or tight] as white on rice," as in this excerpt from John Wideman, Hurry Home (1970):

So there was the mag[istrate] soft talking and trying to move down the street with all them [people] crowded round him. Close as white on rice. He was like a stick being carried away by the gutter or a leaf in the wind.

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Along the same lines as your examples, you could use the adjective from the past participle of 'throng', 'thronged':

throng v.intr.
To gather, press, or move in a throng.

And likewise the adjective from the past participle of 'swarm', 'swarmed':

swarm v.intr.
To be overrun; teem.

(Both definitions from The Free Dictionary.)

For a variety of possibilities (take your pack), WordHippo is a good resource:

  • congested
  • jam-packed
  • cramped
  • huddled
  • loaded
  • populous
  • crushed
  • massed
  • mobbed
  • overflowing
  • stuffed
  • chock-full
  • dense
  • elbow-to-elbow
  • filled to the rafters
  • fit to bust
  • mob scene
  • sardined
  • wall-to-wall
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It's a zoo

From Dictionary.com

Also, what a zoo. This is a place or situation of confusion and/or disorder.

The OP said "overcrowded" or "too busy". A place that is overcrowded is either already a place of confusion and/or disorder, or is on the verge of becoming so.

Example: "This restaurant is a zoo! Let's go somewhere less crowded."

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From Wikipedia: cluster fuck (also Clusterfuck, Charlie-Foxtrot) -"Chaotic and messy situation from multiple mistakes or problems happening in rapid succession." I generally use this term to describe overly packed areas.

"Let's not go to Starbucks now, it's probably a cluster fuck."

It's also used in gaming circles:

"Someone throw a nade, there's a cluster fuck of demon spawn."

If you are looking for something without any profane expletives, goat rope, goat rodeo and goat screw also have the same meaning.

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teeming TFD

v. teemed, teem·ing

abounding in people, fish, insects, et; dense or bustling

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I thought asses to elbows was a pretty silly expression until I saw my baby's ultrasound. A womb is truly asses to elbows.

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