hit pay dirt

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hit pay dirt

To discover or come upon something very, particularly, or abundantly valuable or useful, especially after a long or arduous search. I had been combing through books in the library for hours trying to find material for my thesis, when finally I hit pay dirt with an old collection of literary criticisms from the 1970s. One of my fondest memories was searching through my grandfather's attic when I was a kid, convinced that some day I would hit pay dirt.
See also: dirt, hit, pay
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hit pay dirt

 
1. Fig. to discover something of value. (Alludes to discovering valuable ore.) Sally tried a number of different jobs until she hit pay dirt. I tried to borrow money from a lot of different people. They all said no. Then when I went to the bank, I hit pay dirt.
2. Fig. to get great riches. After years of poverty, the writer hit pay dirt with his third novel. Jane's doing well. She really hit pay dirt with her new business.
See also: dirt, hit, pay
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pay dirt, hit

Also, strike pay dirt. Make a valuable discovery or large profit, as in We've been researching the source of that quotation for a month and we finally hit pay dirt in the Library of Congress . This idiom, from the mid-1800s, refers to a miner's finding gold or other precious metals while sifting soil. By the late 1800s it had been transferred to other lucrative discoveries.
See also: hit, pay
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hit pay dirt

or

strike pay dirt

mainly AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you hit pay dirt or strike pay dirt, you find or achieve something important and valuable. Note: `Pay dirt' is often written as `paydirt'. `Let's not give up on the courts,' Millard says. `We still might hit pay dirt with one of the issues.' The first two people with whom she spoke hung up on her. With the third, she struck pay dirt. The archeologists started in spring and hit paydirt: sets of bones, presumably of Carib Indians. Note: This expression probably refers to earth which contains enough gold dust to make it financially worthwhile to look for gold in it.
See also: dirt, hit, pay
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

hit/strike ˈpay dirt

(informal, especially American English) suddenly be in a successful situation, especially one that makes you rich: The band hit pay dirt two years ago with their first album, but have since been less successful.This comes from mining. Pay dirt is earth that contains valuable minerals or metal such as gold.
See also: dirt, hit, pay, strike
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

hit pay dirt

and strike pay dirt
1. tv. to discover something of value. When we opened the last trunk, we knew we had hit pay dirt.
2. tv. to get to the basic facts of something. When we figured out the code, we really struck pay dirt.
See also: dirt, hit, pay
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

pay dirt, to hit/strike

To find something very valuable; to profit hugely. The term comes from mining, where it literally refers to finding soil (dirt) that contains gold, silver, or some other precious ore. By the late nineteenth century it had been transferred to other lucrative discoveries and financial success. The term originated in mid-nineteenth-century America, probably during the Gold Rush.
See also: hit, pay, strike
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
FOR THE thousands of college football fans who zealously follow recruiting news, it is their big day--the day when their college team either hits pay dirt or is tagged with the shame of a low national recruiting ranking.
The musical can't capture the actual on-field brilliance of Warne, but where it really hits pay dirt is in its portrayal of his romance, subsequent marriage and break-up with Simone.
On Invasion of the B-Girls, Josie Cotton hits pay dirt mining this dubious vein.
Indeed, in business some failures are considered routine, before an entrepreneur or partnership hits pay dirt. So why not in politics?
Screenwriter Paul Rudnick ("Jeffrey," "In & Out") takes broad swipes at easy targets--censorious right-wingers, sexually ambiguous boy bands, flighty JAPs, gangstaposeurs, etc.--and occasionally hits pay dirt with a few well-timed absurdities.
17 Nature, MacKinnon's team hits pay dirt again, this time presenting the structures of bacterial chloride channels.
"The Marilyn Diaries'' really hits pay dirt when Casillo's "Marilyn" considers the trajectory of her career, ruminates bitterly on her marriage to Arthur Miller and pragmatically recalls her long struggle to the top.
Maybe this latest idea will be the one that hits pay dirt.