I wanted to know that the connotation of this phrase:“be a glutton for sth” is positive or negative? Can I use it in statements, which are related to my interest,like:”I’m a glutton for painting.”

  • 1
    It's part of an idiom, and doesn't have a literal meaning - it's not about being a glutton (or being greedy). It's generally used to describe a person as "a glutton for punishment". It describes someone who does something which may be harmful to them, but they continue do it anyway. It's nearly always negative, a way of saying someone shouln't really be doing something.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 19, 2022 at 19:03
  • Thank you so much🙏🏽 Feb 19, 2022 at 19:07
  • Also note, it's a fixed expression. It doesn't really work if you change the word "punishment". If you want to say you really like painting too much - you could say "I'm obsessed with painting".
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 19, 2022 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


If you are a glutton, you eat to excess. It is strictly negative.

Figuratively, being a glutton means you consume something. You could, perhaps, say "I'm a glutton for art. I spend hours every day walking around art galleries". You are "consuming too much art". It would be odd to say "she is a glutton for painting", since this is productive, not consumptive.

There is an idiom: "a glutton for punishment". It means a person who is always eager to undertake hard or unpleasant tasks. It could be used in a rather ironic way about yourself.

  • Thank you ever so much for your clarification🙏🏽 Feb 19, 2022 at 19:06
  • A boss might think that being a glutton for work was a good thing, but the person's colleagues, friends, and relatives might not agree. A Guardian review of the Christmas 2011 UK TV schedules said "If you're a glutton for Dickens (and you'll need to be, with the BBC already stuffing its schedules with the forthcoming bicentenary of his birth), jolly spoofery abounds in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, which features Robert Webb as an upstanding Victorian retailer of nonsense items thrown into sudden penury by bewhiskered evil Stephen Fry in a stovepipe hat." Feb 20, 2022 at 21:12
  • Indeed, but I hope the OP notices the difference between "A glutton for Dickens" = I 'consume' too many of Dickens's works (in a rather ironic, self-depreciatory way) and "A glutton for painting"-- and why this expression doesn't "work".
    – James K
    Feb 20, 2022 at 21:27

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