Money Burns a Hole in Your (or one's) Pocket

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Meaning of Idiom 'Money Burns a Hole in Your Pocket'

This idiom is used to refer to someone who can't resist the urge to spend money as soon as they earn it and/or who spends it extravagantly. 1,2

Compare Have Money to Burn.

Usage

Although this expression usually describes a person who is over-eager to spend their money as soon as they receive it, it can also be used in the continuous sense, as in "He can't hold onto money, it always burns a hole in his pocket."

Examples:

"You said you wanted to save up for your first car, but as soon as you get paid, the money burns a hole in your pocket."

"I just won five-hundred bucks off a scratch-off card! I know I should put the money in the bank but its burning a hole in my pocket."

Origin

This idiom alludes to the need to take money out of one's pocket (or purse) before it burns a hole. Thomas More used a very similar phrase around 1530 2:

"Having a little wanton money, which him thought burned out the bottom of his purse…"

The current idiom has been used since at least the 1840's.

Sources
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.

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