I was watching a TV series when I came across this sentence. What does it mean? Where does this expression come from? The context was the following: A mother told her daughter that she got engaged, the girl's response was not very interested and she only said "wow" (in a sarcastic way). Then, the mother said: "Now, that response really put the 'luke' in lukewarm."

  • I think this expression comes from the writers of the show. There are several idiomatic expressions built on the same pattern ("Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp") and countless take-offs such as this one. Jan 7, 2019 at 19:10
  • Maybe the mother was engaged to a man named Luke??? Jan 7, 2019 at 20:34
  • "Puts the 'luke' in 'lukewarm'" is a moderately common expression. It's a bit confusing, of course, but "luke" is likely meaningful mostly because it isn't -- kind of a nonsense syllable to most people.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 7, 2019 at 20:36
  • @HotLicks If you think it's common, find some examples of it and point us to them. Jan 7, 2019 at 20:40
  • @michael.hor257k - I was a little surprised that Ngram didn't find any. But I've heard the expression on a number of occasions. It certainly was not invented by the TV show writers (unless maybe the show is The Honeymooners).
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 7, 2019 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


It is an informal or humorous expression. Explaining humor takes away all the fun but here goes. This is generally in the form of "He/she puts the A in AB." The AB needs to be a word where A is also a word or at least a syllable.

The usage here is the mother remarking on how unexcited the daughter is about the (should be) wonderful idea of getting married. Lukewarm describes the daughters response, meaning not so excited. The word 'luke' is not really a sensible word here but allows the mother to comment that the daughter does not seem as excited as she might be expected to be. I think its still funny.

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