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a pretty penny
A large amount of money. A fancy car like that costs a pretty penny, so I definitely can't afford it! Wow, Alex must have paid a pretty penny for a house in a gated community. That bracelet she bought on a whim today sure cost a pretty penny—she must be loaded.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
n. a sizable amount of money. This watch cost me a pretty penny, and I intend to take care of it.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A considerable sum of money: I paid a pretty penny for that ring.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer