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10 Money Related Idioms


10 Money Related Idioms

Continuing on with this month’s topic: Money, we thought that we would share with you some of our favourite Money related idioms. As with all idioms these phrases are a great way to make your English sound much more natural and conversational and can all be used in a variety of different contexts.

To Look Like a Million Dollars

To look very good.

  • The actress looked like a million dollars when she went to accept her award.

The earliest printed example of this idiom is believed to have been published in the Buffalo Evening News in 1902 in an account of a baseball game between Buffalo and Newark: At that the Burn’emites looked like a million dollars for the first six innings of the first game. 

Time is Money

Time is valuable (so don’t waste it)

  • Time is money and I don’t want to waste it talking with my supervisor because he always wants to argue with me!

This idiom actually originates from Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the USA. In 1748 Franklin wrote in his book, Advice to a Young Tradesman:

Remember that time is money. He that idly loses five shillings’ worth of time loses five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings into the sea.

At All Costs

To do something at any expense of time, effort or money.

  • We want to send our child to a good school at all costs.

The origins of this Idiom are unclear, however it is believed that it started to gain popularity during the first half of the 1800s.

On the House

Something that is free provided/paid for by the owner of the business.

  • All the drinks at the restaurant were on the house for the rest of the evening.

This idiom is believed to have first been used in an article published in the Kansas City Times and Star in 1889: The first drink Thursday was ‘on the house’ in the leading saloons.

Break Even

Have equal income to expenses.

  • Our company was able to break even only after 6 months of operation.

Although this Idiom is often used now in a financial context, it is believed to have originally been used as a gambling term, often used when betting on card games.

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Get One’s Money’s Worth

To receive a good service for the price paid.

  • The wedding band played four extra songs, so we really got our money’s worth.

On the Money

Exactly the right place, time or idea.

  • Our estimate of this years budget was right on the money.

To Make a Killing

To make a lot of money suddenly.

  • We made a killing at the casino, we came home with so much money.

This phrase is believed to have first been used in 1888 in the weekly in the American weekly humour magazine Texas Siftings:

(on Fred Jarvis winning $15,000 in the Louisiana State Lottery Drawing) Many..would like to know something relative to the man who was fortunate enough to ‘make a killing’….»

Worth its Weight in Gold

To be very valuable/efficient.

  • My new manager is very smart and worth her weight in gold.

Hit the Jackpot

To make a large amount of money.

  • I think we’ve hit the Jackpot with our latest marketing campaign, our sales have doubled!

The word Jackpot is often used as the top prize in a game or contest (such as the lottery or a game of poker) so to hit the jackpot is to be like winning a valuable prize or a big sum of money.

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