the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question

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the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question

A question that is very important and difficult or complex to answer. Taken from the title of the 1950s television game show based on the earlier radio program Take It or Leave It, which popularized the phrase "the sixty-four-dollar question." The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question now is whether he should choose his former opponent as a running mate. A: "Do you want to get Italian or Chinese tonight?" B: "Well, that's the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question, isn't it?"
See also: question
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the 64,000 dollar question

If a question is the 64,000 dollar question, it is very important but very difficult to answer. Why should I, young, healthy and female, suddenly lose my hair? The sixty-four thousand dollar question remained unanswered. Note: Other large sums of money are sometimes used instead of 64,000 dollar. They asked the million-dollar question: `So what makes a good marriage?' The billion-dollar question is: how much are those benefits worth? Note: In the United States in the 1940s, there was a radio quiz show called `Take It or Leave It'. Contestants had to answer questions for prizes ranging from two dollars for an easy question to $64 for the hardest. A similar television quiz show in the 1950s increased the prize to $64,000 dollars.
See also: dollar, question
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the sixty-four thousand dollar question

something that is not known and on which a great deal depends.
This expression dates from the 1940s and was originally the sixty-four dollar question , from a question posed for the top prize in a broadcast quiz show.
1996 Independent Will conversion make the society a better business? That is the $64,000 question.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

the sixty-four thousand dollar ˈquestion

(also the million dollar ˈquestion) a very important question which is difficult or impossible to answer: The sixty-four thousand dollar question for modern astronomy is ‘Is there life elsewhere in the universe?’This phrase originated in the 1940s as ‘the sixty-four dollar question’. It came from a popular US radio quiz programme at the time on which the top prize was $64.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

sixty-four-thousand-dollar question, the

The hardest question of all; the crucial question. This term comes from the name of a popular television quiz show of the 1950s in which $64,000 was the top prize. It in turn may have been an inflation of the earlier sixty-four dollar question, named for the top prize on a CBS radio quiz show Take It or Leave It, which ran throughout the 1940s. This cliché may soon join its forerunner in obsolescence.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"The big question, well the $64,000 question, well much more than that, is whether Meghan Markle is going to be molded by the royal machine, or whether she is going to play a part in molding the royal family.
Here's the $64,000 question: Which came first, the recording of the quitclaim deed conveying her interest in the property to you or the recording of the Memorandum of Judgment?
More predators in show biz continue to be exposed and excoriated by their victims, but the $64,000 question is, will all of this furor lead to actual and long-lasting reforms that will dissuade powerful predators in the biz from adding more victims to their already kilometric list?
Stna Knez will talk about "The $64,000 Question" at Sunday's 10 a.m.
The $64,000 question is will Rafa Benitez remain if the team again swoops towards the bottom three?
"The $64,000 question is, do Republicans who don't want to support Trump turn out at all?" asked GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak, referring to the 1950s game show.
Who hosted the British version of the US TV quiz show, The $64,000 Question? 9.
That is the $64,000 question. Gordon Strachan's future was all that Hotline callers wanted to talk about.
That's the $64,000 question, and Fergie will answer it just as soon as you've paid him it.
But here's the $64,000 question: How much is that Snuggie costing you?
The piece, written by Jane Levere in 2010, was entitled, "Marina Abramovic [sic] Answers the $64,000 Question: 'How Did I Pee?'" The article cites an interview that Abramovic had given at MoMA, in which she addressed the issue of elimination during what is arguably her most famous durational piece--The Artist is Present.
That's the $64,000 question. And the answer is still up in the air.
Well the $64,000 question after Sunderland's 8-0 mauling at Southampton seven days earlier was undoubtedly: "Is it downhill all the way now for Gus Poyet's side?"