What Does What’s Not To Like Mean?

What’s Not to Like Meaning

Definition: What’s wrong with something or someone?

People often use this question rhetorically to imply that the thing or person in question is without fault.

Origin of What’s Not to Like?

This expression originated in America around the 1960s. People often use it after listing several positive qualities as a way to emphasize that something or someone is great and without negative qualities.

As this expression became more common, people began to occasionally use it sarcastically. Sometimes people will list bad things about something, then ask what’s not to like, as a joke.

Some sources point to the Yiddish language as the origin. Others relate it to another rhetorical expression, What am I, chopped liver? However, these sources lack convincing evidence.

Examples of What’s Not to Like?

define whats not to like Here is an example of two family members using the expression while at home.

Grandmother: Sweetheart, come down for dinner! Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Granddaughter: No thanks, Grandma. I’m going to just eat some toast for dinner tonight.

Grandmother: You must be joking! I’ve prepared delicious fried chicken with a lovely salad. I have warm buttered rolls and a fancy European soft drink. I even made tiramisu for dessert! What’s not to like?

Granddaughter: There’s nothing that’s not to like, I promise. I just am not that hungry.

whats not to like phrase The second dialogue shows a daughter explaining why she doesn’t want to attend her father’s alma mater.

Father: Why don’t you want to attend that university? I loved going to school there. It’s a wonderful school!

Daughter: It’s nothing personal.

Father: The school is close to home, so you could always visit on the weekends. It’s got one of the highest ratings in the country. Also, it offered you a full scholarship! What’s not to like?

Daughter: Maybe you’re right. I’ll consider it.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a promising football player who may have a chance to win the Heisman Trophy.

  • As one NFL scout says, he’s just one of those players—rare on the defensive side of the ball—”who the average fan will look for and watch.” “What’s not to like?” The way he hits, he can cover, he can bring it off the edge, he can run, the scouts adds. “He’s a Kam Chancellor type. –USA Today

This headline is about a member of British royalty and his love life.

  • Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and polo ponies: What’s not to like? –USA Today


The expression what’s not to like? is a rhetorical question when people want to emphasize that something is all good with no bad qualities.