cost an arm and a leg

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cost an arm and a leg

slang To be very expensive. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cost" and "a" to indicate the person spending the money. College tuition costs an arm and leg nowadays. I'm sick of paying rent in this town. It's costing me an arm and a leg!
See also: and, arm, cost, leg
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cost an arm and a leg

If something costs an arm and a leg, it costs a lot of money. It cost us an arm and a leg to get here. But it has been worth every penny and more. Note: Verbs such as pay, charge and spend are sometimes used instead of cost. Many restaurants were charging an arm and a leg for poor quality food.
See also: and, arm, cost, leg
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

cost an arm and a leg

be extremely expensive. informal
See also: and, arm, cost, leg
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

cost/pay an ˌarm and a ˈleg

(informal) cost/pay a lot of money: We want to redecorate the living room, but I’m afraid it’s going to cost us an arm and a leg.
See also: and, arm, cost, leg, pay
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

cost an arm and a leg/a pretty penny, to

Excessively expensive, exorbitant. The first phrase is American in origin and dates from the mid-twentieth century. The source is obvious: giving up an arm and a leg to buy something is clearly too costly. The use of “pretty” to mean considerable in amount was originally British and is now archaic except in a few well-worn phrases like this one, a cliché since the late nineteenth century. It was common throughout the eighteenth century, and crossed the Atlantic as well (“The captain might still make a pretty penny,” Bret Harte, Maruja, 1885). A similar term was a fine penny, now obsolete.
See also: and, arm, cost, leg, pretty
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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