cost an arm and a leg


cost an arm and a leg

Meaning | Synonyms

  • very expensive
  • costing a lot of money
  • to be very expensive
  • a very large and exorbitant sum of money
  • very costly
  • excessively pricey
  • cost a fortune

Example Sentences

  1. I’d like to have a new farmhouse, but it may cost me an arm and a leg.
  2. This dress is lovely, but it cost me an arm and a leg.
  3. It would be best if you visited that restaurant; the food is really good, and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
  4. “How much would you pay for a luxurious farmhouse by the beach? An arm and a leg?”
  5. I would have loved to go with my friends on vacation, but it would have cost me an arm and a leg.
  6. The show is excellent, but the tickets cost an arm and a leg.
  7. He really wants to go to that event. He’s willing to pay an arm and a leg for it.
  8. I went to the auction but didn’t pick up anything. Everything cost an arm and a leg.
  9. This resort lets you experience luxury without having to pay an arm and a leg.
  10. How can I buy you a golden-plated plane that costs an arm and a leg?
  11. The electric scooter is the best thing to go anywhere without costs an arm and a leg.
  12. I will not buy a new Apple iPhone as it costs an arm and a leg.


This is an American phrase, coined sometime after World War II. A likely reference is to soldiers who had lost their limbs in the war, thus having to pay a very high price for the war.

Share your opinions4 Opinions

The phrase originates from painting in the 15th century and later when portraits were popular. Arms and legs are difficult to paint properly. If an artist cited a price higher than the patron wished to pay, the artist might agree to do the painting for less with fewer or no limbs in the picture. Thus the reduction in price “could cost you an arm and a leg.”

‒ David November 26, 2018

Why don’t you put ‘S’ at the third person sing of the verb to cast?

‒ Renold June 5, 2018

It originates in pharaonic Egypt – the man who lost an arm & a leg as punishment (for sleeping with the pharo concubines) is depicted (a man with one hand and one leg and very erected ‘manhood’) among the reliefs of the great temple of Kernak – if you visit that temple check it out.

‒ Giorge November 7, 2017

Your origin is rubbish it has been used in the UK for centuries and is in reference to portrait painting.

‒ Tim May 22, 2017

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