wordy wednesday: an arm and a leg

Today’s idiom: an arm and a leg

Meaning: extremely expensive

Origin: All three sources mention the origin referring to portrait painters, where they charged more per limb (or as the painting got larger to include more of a person’s body).  It seems that this is thought of as erroneous.  It seems the the phrase came about around WWII when soldiers would come back from the war with missing limbs, reinforcing the high cost of their sacrifices.  It seems that this particular phrase came from a two other phrases: “I would give my right arm for” and “even if it takes a leg.”

Sources: phrases. wiki answers. snopes.

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