You say this to ask for something that you have chosen in a restaurant or shop

  • I’ll have a T-bone steak and chips, please.

A: What does "have" in the sentence above mean?

B: It's idiomatic for what we say to the waiter.

  • I'll have a steak.
  • I would like a steak.
  • I'd like to order a steak.


I'm having trouble understanding the bold part. What exactly does the bold part mean? Thank you very much.

  • 2
    Did you look up 'idiomatic' in a dictionary? if so, what don't you understand? May 14, 2021 at 9:52
  • 1
    It is a typical, natural thing for a person ordering a meal to say. May 14, 2021 at 10:34
  • 1
    @KateBunting: I don't find OP's exact cited phrasing "natural, idiomatic". To my ear, idiomatic is an adjective, and it doesn't sit well in a construction where I'd normally expect a noun. Suppose the utterance being queried was You there! Gimmie a steak and chips! So far as I'm concerned, it wouldn't be very good for B to reply It's rude for what we say to a waiter. May 14, 2021 at 11:12
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    @FumbleFingers I agree that the quoted sentence is badly expressed - but the OP asked "What does it mean?" May 14, 2021 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


It's not a very well expressed sentence.

Compare with " 'Merci' is French for thankyou." That means that merci is the word or expression in the French language that means the same as 'thankyou' in English"

By analogy "It's idiomatic for what we say to a waiter 'I would like a steak'..." Can be understood as "'I'll have a steak' is the expression in idiomatic language that means the same as 'I would like a steak'".

The author is saying that "I'll have ..." is an idiomatic expression, and it means the same as "I would like ..."

But the analogy doesn't work very well, because "French" can function as the name of a language, but "idiomatic" isn't the name of a language. So this is not a good example of clear English.

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