This phrase is usually referred to women who (accidentally?) reveals more than intended because of such as wearing a short skirt or falling over and having their clothes flip over and thus reveal their bottoms or something. What I want to know is how this phrase came about to mean what it means. I see no connection between either falling or a wardrobe malfunction and breakfast. The closest answer to this I found is not even an answer, it is a record of when this was first mentioned, and supposedly it was mentioned in 1973, according to this website:


It does't explain how the phrase came about and why it means what it means. Does anyone know?

  • Words have etymologies; phrases do not. They have origins. Also, please correct your title. It is missing the word woman.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 15:43
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    I'm more familiar with the phrase relating to a person yawning or otherwise opening their mouth very wide. The idea being that you could see so far down the throat that you could see their first meal of the day. Exactly how this has become transferred to seeing up a young woman's skirt I really don't know.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 15:57
  • I'd guess it's related to the sense BoldBen mentions - being able to see inside someone - although it appears a less common version than the wide-open mouth. But a lot of men have a limited idea of female anatomy, so maybe they think it's all connected. A good slang dictionary may help; it's on Urban Dictionary but not very highly voted or very informative.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 16:53
  • I wasn't familiar with this expression, so I trawled through a few examples on Google Books. There are only about a dozen instances of could see what she had for breakfast, and they all seem to be specifically calling attention to a short skirt. And just 5 of could see what he had for breakfast - one with tight jeans, one who vomited, one "guileless / transparent", the rest "indeterminate". Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 17:08
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    @Esther: Ah, right. I see OP's link also has The phrase to see a woman’s breakfast can refer ... to (the contours of) a woman’s genitals as revealed for example by a very short skirt (basically, "Camel toe alert! :) But the bottom line is it has so little currency that it's hardly surprising different people have different understandings of exactly what it's getting at. Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


It means the person is making a rude comment. I can see what u had for breakfast means I can see all the way up u, if they get a look up your skirt. It's just a common rude thing to say.

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