Learn English Online - Idiomatic Expressions

Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does cost an arm and a leg mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

cost an arm and a leg



If something costs an arm and a leg, it is extremely expensive.

Other variations of this idiom include:

1. cost a bomb.
2. cost the earth.
3. cost a packet.
4. cost a small fortune.

The origin of the phrase may refer to the high cost that some soldiers paid in world war II when they had their arms and legs amputated.

Another theory about the origin of the idiom comes from earlier expressions that refer to the high cost of something:

1. 'I would give my right arm...'
2. 'It takes a leg...


1. He bought a new house. It cost him an arm and a leg.
2. I'd love to buy that new car! I know it would cost me an arm and a leg.

This idiom is in the money category

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