It is a line from an American TV drama when a man saw a young boy after 5 years and said: Last time I saw you, you were too short to ride the Cyclone.

I searched on Google and it shows that ride a cyclone is a musical with music (I'm a non-American), and I was confused by the meaning of "ride"...

Can anyone give me some explanation about the whole line?

  • 1
    I see why you were confused. "Ride the Cyclone" is a musical play about some teenagers who die in an accident on an amusement park ride, and what happens to them in the afterlife; it is a funny but very strange play. But knowing that will not really help you understand how the phrase is used in that sentence. – Eric Lippert Oct 15 at 22:36
  • Yes exactly! It's pretty interesting that for the non-Americans like me, you have to know some American culture or common sense to understand the drama, and I'm really glad to find answers here! – scarlett Oct 17 at 12:07
up vote 20 down vote accepted

The "Cyclone" was, and still is, an amusement park ride at Coney Island, New York.

https://lunaparknyc.com/

You have to be a certain height in order to ride it. The phrase means something like, "Last time I saw you, you were just a little kid."

  • 6
    Not just Coney Island (though that one might be most famous); it's a common name for roller coasters in the US, so the meaning is likely to be recognizable even for folks who haven't heard of the Coney Island ride. – 1006a Oct 15 at 15:34
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    @1006a - Good point. I didn't realize it was of Coney Island origin, but certainly understood the reference to a rollercoaster. Sort of like how "Sizzler" is a generic restaurant (that is generally buffet style, all-you-can-eat) – BruceWayne Oct 15 at 15:54
  • @BruceWayne Sizzler is a chain with 270 locations in the US. Apparently it is used as a more generic word in India, but it refers to grilled meats and vegetables served on a hot plate (similar to fajitas). That said, maybe in the Midwest people use "sizzler" like they use "coke"? – stannius Oct 15 at 15:57
  • @stannius - Woah, I didn't realize it was a chain. Never seen one before despite living in various states. Thanks for pointing that out! (I had always assumed some TV show used the name frequently, so it became a generic word. Didn't think they might be referring to a real place.) – BruceWayne Oct 15 at 16:08
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    @BruceWayne Lots of restaurant and grocery chains are regional. I never saw a "Piggly Wiggly" and it sounded like a made-up name, since I've always lived in the northeast, but they're mostly in the south and midwest. – Barmar Oct 15 at 17:01

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