A quote by Alan Perlis says,

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.

Such a programming language doesn't exist and Perlis is being critical of the ignorance of the person. But what does "give him a lollipop" mean exactly? Can you give a few more example sentences where this idiom is used?

  • 3
    It is not a widely-used expression - but I think we can all deduce that it means the request is so childishly unreasonable that "give him/her a lollipop" is justifiable as a patronising response.
    – WS2
    Jun 4, 2022 at 8:12

1 Answer 1


According to this site, when you give someone a lollipop, you are treating him as a "nice but useless person who you don’t want to involve but also you don’t want to be excluded".

Give him a lollipop and let him sit & listen to the discussion.

There is a tone of condescension in this phrase, and in your example Perlis is clearly critical of the ignorance of the person.

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