for a song(redirected from buy something for a song)
for a song
For a very (and perhaps surprisingly) low price. Wow, I can't believe they let so many things at their yard sale go for a song. I would have marked up the prices a bit.
*for a song
Fig. cheaply. (As if the singing of a song were payment. *Typically: buy something ~; get something ~; pick up someone ~.) No one else wanted it, so I picked it up for a song. I could buy this house for a song, because it's so ugly.
for a song
Very cheaply, for little money, especially for less than something is worth. For example, "I know a man ... sold a goodly manor for a song" (Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, 3:2). This idiom alludes to the pennies given to street singers or to the small cost of sheet music. [Late 1500s]
for a song
COMMON If you buy something for a song, you buy it for very little money. She was wearing a beautiful hat which she'd picked up for a song in Camden Market. She wore a lot of costume jewellery which she bought for a song off second-hand stalls. Note: You can also say that something goes for a song or is sold for a song, meaning that it is sold very cheaply. In the early nineties their shares went for a song. I know of good, solid, stone-built houses which have been sold by councils for a song. Note: This expression may be a reference to printed song sheets, which were very cheap. Alternatively, it may refer to small amounts of money that passers-by give to someone who is singing in the street.
for a songvery cheaply. informal
The ultimate origin of this phrase is probably the practice, in former times, of selling written copies of ballads very cheaply at fairs. The expression was in common use by the mid 17th century.
1985 Nini Herman My Kleinian Home The place was going for a song, since anyone in his right mind would have steered well clear of it.
(buy something, go, etc.) for a ˈsong(informal) (buy something, be sold, etc.) for much less money than its real value: I bought this car for a song.
for a songInformal
At a low price: bought the antique tray for a song.
for a song, to go/to buy/to sell
Something sold or bought for a trifling sum, by implication for far less than its worth. The expression is believed to come from the pennies given to itinerant songsters performing outside inns and public houses (bars), as well as the very small amount required to buy sheet music. The expression dates from the sixteenth century. Shakespeare used it in All’s Well That Ends Well (“I know a man . . . sold a goodly manor for a song” [3.2]). It was a cliché by the time Byron wrote, “The cost would be a trifle—an ‘old song’” (Don Juan, 1824).