Gravy Train

Also:

Ride the gravy train
Board the gravy train
climb on the gravy train
(to be) on the gravy train

Meaning of Idiom ‘Gravy Train’

The gravy train refers to a source of easy financial profit, or a position in which you have a very good chance of obtaining advantages.

To ride the gravy train means to have excessive wealth, comfort, luxury, or success, especially when this is not necessarily deserved. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.


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Usage

The gravy train is used as a noun to refer to easy sources of monetary gain. A person can ride the gravy train and so experience the results of this profit, or one can “climb on” or “board” the gravy train, which means to take advantage of an opportunity for easy profit.

Examples of Use

“He’s been on the gravy train so long he doesn’t remember what it’s like to struggle.”

“You really should get in on this deal,” said Peterson. “Come on and ride the gravy train with the rest of us.”

Origin

Gravy has long been used to refer to easy profits and the term gravy train is believed to have derived from late 1800’s or early 1900’s railroad slang. It was used in 1914 by W.C. Handy in a blues song, where Handy sings about falling off the gravy train. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. It may also be an alteration of gravy boat  5Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010. but this seems unlikely. For a much more in-depth discussion see Origin of the Term Gravy Train.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 5. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
3, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.