Arm and a Leg, an

Also:
Cost and arm and a leg
Charge an arm and a leg
Pay and arm and a leg
Give and arm and a leg

Meaning of Idiom ‘An Arm and a Leg’

An arm and a leg is a very large amount of money; a very high price. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.


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Usage

When we say something “costs an arm and a leg” we mean that it is much too expensive and overpriced. Verbs such as cost, charge, pay, and give are almost always used with the expression, such as in the example “Hotel rooms around here cost an arm and a leg.”

An arm and a leg idiom meaning

Examples Of Use

“I had a flat tire on the way to work and the guy at the gas station charged me an arm and a leg to fix it.”

“I’m not going to pay an arm and a leg to fix a car with this many miles on it.”

“The phone companies these days are ridiculous. They expect an arm and a leg just so you can make simple phone calls.”

Origin

This hyperbolic idiom has been used since the early part of the 1900s and became widely used during the 1930s. It may have arisen from 19th century American slang from the criminal world, “if it takes a leg,” which was a way of expressing dogged determination. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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More Idioms Starting with A

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.