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

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

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 Of Use

“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 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

“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.

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Sources   [ + ]

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