Jenson Button has said that he expects the 2016 Abu Dhabi grand prix to be his last, despite him having a contract as a reserve driver in 2017 and potentially full-time driver in 2018. When asked why he would have a contract to possibly drive in the future if he is planning on this being his last race, Button replied:

The whole idea about having a contract is that in three months’ time, when I have eaten myself stupid and am thinking of things to do in the future, maybe I realise I need F1 back in my life.

Source: jamesallenonf1.com

I tried to look up the vocabulary but I couldn't understand the meaning of "to eat yourself stupid". Can someone help me, please?

  • 4
    It just means "I've eaten far too much."
    – Mick
    Nov 24, 2016 at 13:40
  • 5
    It means that you left out a lot of critical context.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 24, 2016 at 17:20
  • 2
    @HotLicks - Context added. It isn't critical in my opinion, but it does make the question more interesting to formula 1 fans :)
    – AndyT
    Nov 25, 2016 at 9:49
  • 4
    In that context the phrase is quite figurative, presumably meaning that he's had enough of the high life of a rich idle person and might want to return to the "real" world.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 25, 2016 at 12:43

5 Answers 5


It is a variant of the following idiomatic expression which is used to suggest that you did something (drink, laugh. etc.) to an extreme point:

Drink, laugh, etc. yourself silly: ​

  • to drink, laugh, etc. so much that you are unable to think clearly or behave with good judgment:
    • I laughed myself silly at his jokes.

Cambridge Dictionaty

  • 1
    It's also analogous to “I ate myself sick”. Nov 25, 2016 at 4:44

"Eating yourself stupid" means your body is reallocating energy to digestion and taking it from the brain, to the point your cognitive processes are compromised.

If you have eaten a sufficiently large quantity of food then the body must devote some proportion of your "immediate" energy to digestion. This means taking it away from the brain, so you feel lethargic and experience a period of low cognitive power/ability.

A similar thing happens while doing long periods of exercise, like a 4+ hour bike ride. The gut takes power away from your legs and you go a bit slower, which is why easily-digested gels and simple foods work better. Being tired takes power away from the brain too, so riders in extreme power deprivation states (i.e. 24+ hour rides) can start acting very stupid, like "getting off their bike and lying in the roadway for a nap" or turning around and searching for their mum.

  • 4
    Although this is a literal possibility, I suspect the phrase is generally used idiomatically.
    – AndyT
    Nov 25, 2016 at 10:15
  • 2
    @andyt totally agree - this answers the "what did this phrase mean originally?" part of the question and the top-rated answer covers "what does this phrase mean in current usage?"
    – Criggie
    Nov 25, 2016 at 11:06

It sounds like the British Formula One driver, Jenson Button, is careful about his weight. He has to watch the calories because not only is he a driver but also a sportsman.

When people have to follow a strict diet regime for any extended period, it soon becomes frustrating and boring. The moment Button terminates his F1 contract, he admits he will overindulge by eating those very foods which were restricted or expressly ‘forbidden’. In this frenzy of eating, he'll most likely overeat, and feel full. Only a stupid person would want to reach that uncomfortable stage; either that —or— as suggested by @Tom Fenech, risk becoming stupid in the process, i.e. eat oneself stupid.

Similarly, people say they went on a binge or they binged on junk food until they felt sick.

  • 1
    Nice explanation to begin with but I'd say that the conclusion of this answer is more applicable to simply "eating stupidly". Compare the phrase "eat myself stupid" with "make myself dizzy", "run myself ragged", "worry myself sick", etc., where the adjective describes the final state that has been reached, rather than the type of person who would perform the action.
    – Tom Fenech
    Nov 25, 2016 at 17:26
  • @TomFenech I think you made a very good point, and I've included it in my post. Thank you.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 25, 2016 at 19:17
  • 1
    +1, Some background on f1 driver weight: formula1.about.com/od/drivers/a/Driver_Weights.htm
    – AllInOne
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:07

Maybe the observed stupidity that led to that sentence is caused by the drowsiness brought on while the body works hard to digest large meals. Speaking for myself, I'm fairly certain I won't be feeling very sharp after today's Thanksgiving meal. All those delicious carbs ...


I think this may be an extension of "to drink yourself stupid" which means to drink so much that your brain doesn't work very well anymore. You lose your good judgment and your brain is addled. In this phrase there is also an implication that you were stupid to drink so much.

Extrapolate this to overeating, and you get "to eat yourself stupid." I don't think the part about the brain not working very well, and the loss of judgment, should be taken too literally. It's not a perfect parallel.

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