What does the idiom "make a killing" mean?

The expression make a killing is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the make a killing idiom.

Meaning of "make a killing"


The idiom 'make a killing' is used to describe a situation where somebody has achieved great success or made a significant amount of money quickly and easily. It is often used in the context of business or investments, but can also be applied to any situation where someone has made a large gain.


The origin of this phrase is said to come from the fact that when a hunter is successful, they bring back a 'kill' in the form of a prey animal. Therefore, if someone were to 'make a killing' in financial or any other type of business venture, it would translate as having been successful in their endeavours.


This phrase is generally used to describe someone who has made a large, usually unexpected or quick gain of money. It can also be used to describe a situation where somebody has had success or made a profit in any kind of venture. It is often used to describe business success, such as when someone has made a large return on an investment. The phrase can also be used more generally to describe any kind of financial gain, such as when someone has won a large amount of money on a lottery.

Example Sentences

  • He made a killing in the stock market and was able to retire early.
  • The new app she developed has been a huge success - she's making a killing.
  • The film became a cult classic and its producers are making a killing in profits.

The meanings of the words in the "make a killing" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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