Things I Haven’t Yet Heard Described as “On Steroids” (and I’d Rather Not)

Any idiom on this list has run its course and should be “put out to pasture.”

The idiom “on steroids” — as in “COVID is like the flu, but on steroids” — has run its course and should be put out to pasture (along with “run its course” and “out to pasture”).

idiom out to pasture
Any overused idiom should be put out to, well… the above. Photo: Adam Theo,

I suspect that most readers are, like me, ready to cry “uncle” when they hear another trite use (“Uncle: it’s like an aunt on steroids”). I therefore enthusiastically (“Enthusiastically,” it’s like “willingly” on steroids) provide this list of possible “on steroids” analogies I hope never to hear.

“Did your see that Blue Whale? It’s like a can of tuna on steroids.” [Editorial Note: Whale doesn’t actually come in a can.]

“Mmm, this garlic pizza: it’s like a garlic bagel on steroids. But with tomato sauce.” [Editorial Note: They should have added: “and cheese.”]

“My heart attack: it was like a sneeze on steroids … except life-threatening.” [Editorial Note: It might also require changes to lifestyle; so really quite different.]

“Wow, this Super Tuscan wine is like a Chianti on steroids … tasty red steroids.” [Editorial Note: If the steroids aren’t 80% Sangiovese, the wine can’t be called Classico.]

“Remember Rudy Giuliani after 9/11? He was a mayor on steroids.” [Editorial Note: Unfortunately, those steroids addled his brain.]

“My severe heart attack. It was like, well, like a mild heart attack on steroids.” [Editorial Note: In addition, the beta blocker that controls arrhythmia is like an alpha blocker on steroids.]

“These anabolic steroids, wow! They’re like the corticosteroids prescribed for my arthritis, but on steroids.” [Editorial Note: We may drop our objection to this one.]

“Gotta admit, turning 60 is like turning 50, but on steroids!” [Editorial Note: Actually, it should be the other way around.]

“March. It’s like February on steroids.” [Editorial Note: Except in leap years, even if it goes in like a lion.]

“Twins. It’s like having an only child, but on steroids.” [Editorial Note: The same speaker would probably say that triplets are like twins on steroids. Just a guess.]

“A gallon of milk: it’s like a quart of milk on steroids.” [Editorial Note: It’s actually more like a pint of milk on steroids.]

“A habanero is like a cayenne, which is like a chili, which is like a serrano, which is like a jalapeño, which is like a pablano on steroids.” [Editorial Note: Peppers are harder to compare than this suggests. That’s why we have Scovilles.]

“You MUST read Leviticus. It’s like Hammurabi’s Code, but on steroids.” [Editorial Note: Hammurabi’s Code is itself like the Codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin on steroids.]

“Can I show you my erection? Now that I’m taking Viagra, it’s like my penis is on steroids.” [Editorial Note: Except steroids won’t do that.]

Final Note: Perhaps “on Viagra” should be the replacement idiom, as in: “COVID is like the flu, but on Viagra.”

Howard Zaharoff