an arm and a leg


very expensive

TRANSLATION

an arm and a leg = schweineteuer sein, eine Stange Geld kosten, ein Vermögen kosten, sehr kostspielig, Unsummen kosten

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“Insured FOR AN ARM AND A LEG. Many factors are driving the rising costs of international health insurance. Now you can cut the cost of your premiums without putting yourself at risk.”

James Featherstone - The Guardian

Did you
know?

an arm and a leg
informal

- A very large amount of money

Merriam-Webster


ORIGIN

Although, the true origin of this idiom is unknown, the following explanation can lead to interesting conversations:

Back in time, portrait painters charged according to the size of their canvas. A head and shoulders painting was the cheapest option, followed in price by one which included arms, and finally the most expensive being full body, with arms and legs.

There are many other, less probable theories, but this one has at least a certain plausibility.


BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Shocked at the corruption at every level of bureaucracy, the sales manager complained to his foreign agent:

“This deal is costing us AN ARM AND A LEG in ‘special payments’. Are there no honest people in this administration?”

“Oh yes, indeed...”, answered his smiling agent, “...there are a few honest people,… but they are VERY expensive!”

Stephi Alum - Monkey Business


SYNONYMS

big-ticket, costs a bomb, costs AN ARM AND A LEG, costs a pretty penny, is very pricey, a steep price, a (small) fortune


PRACTICE OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“Their digital services agency is costing them AN ARM AND A LEG.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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