The lobster sits oblivious in a pot but has no idea the water is heating up and that it is actully being cooked until it is too late.

This is in context "Like lobsters cooking in an ever heatening pot, we barely noticed the change." Obviously heatening is not a verb, so I need one to replace it.

What verb could I use to describe the subtle rising of the temperature of the pot?

  • 2
    Imperceptibly increasing temperature might work, given that the lobster doesn't perceive what's happening. Of course, in the context of global climate change (which everyone thinks they do notice), the word of choice is usually inexorable. (no-one can stop it) Jun 14, 2019 at 16:43
  • Thanks, this is it in context "Like lobsters cooking in an ever heatening pot, we barely noticed the change." obviously heatening is not a verb, so need one to replace it. Any ideas?
    – matt
    Jun 14, 2019 at 16:47
  • 3
    Personally I doubt there is a single word for your context. But I would just say that I've not heard of this imagery being used with lobsters. And if I Google lobster slowly boil to death the first half-dozen results are actually about frogs not noticing, and I'm pretty sure it's really true with frogs (I feel like I've known that version all my life). I have my doubts that lobsters could be that insensitive, but given the frogs version is so well-known I think I'd just rephrase to Like frogs being slowly boiled alive, we barely noticed the change. Jun 14, 2019 at 17:13
  • There is an idiom/fable about frogs (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog), even though it's false. I suspect there isn't a verb that captures the idiom, or it would have taken over.
    – jimm101
    Jun 14, 2019 at 17:28
  • I wonder if what you're actually looking for is an adverb? // Heating not heatening, by the way. Jun 14, 2019 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


"Like lobsters in water edging toward boiling, we didn't noticed the subtle change"

2 [with adverbial of direction] Move or cause to move gradually or furtively in a particular direction.
[no object] ‘she tried to edge away from him’
[with object] ‘Hazel quietly edged him away from the others’

  • Creeping would be something similar in terms of a single verb. Jun 14, 2019 at 18:29
  • @JasonBassford and matt "creeping" is nice. It has a sneaky feeling to it.
    – David D
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:08
  • @DavidD Feel free to add it to your answer as an alternative. You don't have to provide just one word. (And it's similar enough.) Jun 14, 2019 at 19:41
  • I've gone for this "Like lobsters in a pot creeping towards boiling, we barely noticed. Until it was too late." Thanks again! What a helpful website!
    – matt
    Jun 14, 2019 at 20:15

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