Paul: “I have been working for this firm for ten years and they chose the new guy for promotion over me.”
Julia: “Well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles”
This is an informal expression that means bad things happen in life and there is nothing you can really do to prevent it. It’s not worth getting upset; you should just try and accept it philosophically.
Of course in the UK we would generally use the word “biscuit” instead of cookie when talking about those hard baked, sweet or savory, flat cakes which are so popularly eaten with a cup of tea. Cookie is originally a Dutch term meaning little cake and has spread to the United States due to immigration from Holland.
Also in the US we can find “fortune cookies” which are usually served with Chinese food. However they are almost unknown in mainland China and were invented in California by Asian immigrants. They are crisp cookies with pieces of paper inside, on which are written clever sayings, prophecies or words of wisdom.
A Cookie in computing is a collection of information which is used by websites to identify users who have previously visited the site. They are stored on your computer when you use the internet.
A cookie can also be a person. A tough cookie is unemotional and a hard negotiator whilst a smart cookie is sharp, clever and not easily fooled.
Biscuit and cookie is just one example of the difference between British and American lexis.
American equivalents twenty British English words:
British English American English
Boot (of a car) Trunk
Bonnet (of a car) Hood
Rubbish Garbage, trash
Ground Floor First floor
Chips French fries
Bill (in a restaurant) Check