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A business or investment that generates a large or consistent profit. When Bob purchased stock in that software company 10 years ago, he never expected it to become such a cash cow. Now that it has quadrupled in value, he'll be able to retire early.
A dependable source of profit, as in The small-appliance division is this company's cash cow. Although this precise term dates only from about 1970, milch cow was used in exactly the same way from 1601.
a cash cow
If you call someone or something a cash cow, you mean that it makes a lot of money. This rather unglamorous property is a cash cow, generating about $700 million a year in advertising revenue. A player like Rooney is a potential cash cow to dozens. Note: The reference is to something that produces money as freely as a cow produces milk.
n. a dependable source of money; a good investment. Mr. Wilson turned out to be the cash cow we needed to start our repertoire company.