Packed like sardines

Packed Like Sardines

Have you ever been in a place where it is extremely crowded? It is so packed that you can barely move, for example, when you’re in a bus or a subway during rush hour, or when you’re in a club. There is a perfect expression to describe this situation in English.

In English it’s called as “packed like sardines” (also “packed in like sardines”). This idiom is used to describe an extremely crowded place; to be in a crowded space. It comes from the way that sardines – the small cured fish – are tightly packed and sealed in tin cans.


• I always use subway to work and it’s packed in like sardines during rush hour.

• If you are ever in a club and you’re packed like sardines, make sure you stay close to the main exit in case of an emergency.

In bahasa Indonesia, we call this as “padat kayak pepes ikan teri”. “Ikan teri” is small anchovies in English. So if we translate it to English, it says “packed like anchovies”. Do you have a similar idiom to “packed like sardines” in your native language?


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