Have Money to Burn

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Meaning of Idiom 'Have Money to Burn'

To have money to burn means to have so much money you can spend it on whatever you want, even on unnecessary luxuries or foolish things; to have more money than you need to survive. 1,2,3

Compare Money Burns a Hole in Your Pocket.


This idiom is sometimes pejorative and meant to indicate that the speaker thinks the person with money to burn spends money foolishly. However, the expression can be neutral or positive.


"My father is taking offers for movie rights to his book. If a deal goes through, we will have money to burn!"

"Did you see Robinson's house? There's gold everywhere. He obviously has money to burn."

"Our house sold for much more than we thought it would. Since we are downsizing, we will still have money to burn."


Used since the late 1800's.

This idiom alludes to having so much money you can afford to burn it. Burn is used in a similar sense in some other expressions, such as 'time to burn'. 2

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster's New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.

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