the sixty-four-dollar question

the sixty-four-dollar question

A question that is very important and/or difficult to answer. Taken from the title of the 1940s radio program Take It or Leave It, in which the big prize was 64 silver dollars. The sixty-four-dollar question now is whether he should choose his former opponent as a running mate. A: "Do you want to get Italian or Chinese tonight?" B: "Well, that's the sixty-four-dollar question, isn't it?"
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sixty-four-dollar question

Fig. the most important question; the question that everyone wants to know the answer to. Who will win? Now, that is the sixty-four-dollar question. Now for the sixty-four-dollar question. What's the stock market going to do this year?
See also: question

the sixty-four-dollar question

n. the most important question; the question that everyone wants to know the answer to. When? Now, that is the sixty-four-dollar question.
See also: question

$64 question

The essential or ultimate question. One of the most popular radio quiz shows during the 1940s was Take It or Leave It in which contestants strived to answer question after question until they reached the top prize of sixty-four silver dollars. The questions increased in difficulty, and at any point contestants could choose to stop and keep the amount of money they had won to that point. The phrase “$64 dollar question” became a catchword to the point that it became the program's name, and people applied the phrase to any very important question or matter. Even more popular was the 1950s television spinoff, The $64,000 Question, with the phrase, now adjusted to inflation, catching on in popular speech, but not to the extent that its antecedent did.
See also: question
References in periodicals archive ?
That's the sixty-four-dollar question," says Ward, who suggests the answer hinges on your definition of art.