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 really like to have a new farm house, but it may cost me an arm and a leg.
  2. This dress is really nice, but it cost me an arm and a leg.
  3. You must visit 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 luxurious farmhouse by the beach? An arm and a leg?”
  5. I would have loved to go with my friends on a 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.


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


C 14 Comments


AuthorDavid writes on 26th November 2018

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.”

AuthorNicka Jae Ritamal writes on 6th August 2018

What a nice! it is very useful to us, like me a student, and also the teachers. Keep it up!

AuthorRenold writes on 5th June 2018

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

AuthorAngela writes on 3rd May 2018

You helped me in my project. Thankz


AuthorMeegs Fetalvero writes on 25th January 2018

This is very useful #idioms is fun

AuthorYuxun writes on 11th January 2018

This is very useful to me.

AuthorRoshan writes on 8th January 2018

Useful stuff

AuthorSofia Anum writes on 2nd January 2018

This idiom is really very helpful and good for school.
This idiom make interest in more idioms, unexpectedly.

AuthorEli Machang writes on 2nd December 2017

This is very simple and useful ,

AuthorGiorge writes on 7th November 2017

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.

AuthorMystery girl writes on 1st November 2017

Thank you so much for this idiom

AuthorJenna Louw writes on 14th August 2017

This is really useful for school.

AuthorTim writes on 22nd May 2017

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

AuthorPriya writes on 2nd May 2016

This is very usefull to learn more.

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