buy (something) for a song(redirected from they have sold it for a song)
buy (something) for a song
To purchase something for a very low price, especially when it is much lower than the thing is worth. The furniture company is having a liquidation sale at the moment, so I was able to buy this chest of drawers for a song.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
for a song, to go/to buy/to sell
Something sold or bought for a trifling sum, by implication for far less than its worth. The expression is believed to come from the pennies given to itinerant songsters performing outside inns and public houses (bars), as well as the very small amount required to buy sheet music. The expression dates from the sixteenth century. Shakespeare used it in All’s Well That Ends Well (“I know a man . . . sold a goodly manor for a song” [3.2]). It was a cliché by the time Byron wrote, “The cost would be a trifle—an ‘old song’” (Don Juan, 1824).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer