pay dirt, hit

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

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