make money hand over fist
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make (or lose or spend) money hand over fistmake (or lose or spend) money very rapidly or in very large quantities. informal
This phrase first appeared in the mid 18th century as hand over hand . Found in nautical contexts, it referred to the movement of a person's hands when rapidly climbing a rope or hauling it in. By the mid 19th century, hand over hand was being used to mean ‘advancing continuously and rapidly’, especially of one ship pursuing another. Hand over fist is first recorded in the early 19th century, also in a nautical context, but it was soon used more generally to indicate speed, especially in the handling of money.
1991 Simon Winchester Pacific Japan continued making money hand over fist, the American trade deficit became steadily larger and larger.