Make a killing

verb phrase

To get a large, quick profit; win hugely: Where did he get all that money? Made a killing on the stock market, he says (1888+)
Enjoy a large and quick profit, as in They made a killing in real estate. This expression alludes to a hunter’s success. [ ; late 1800s ]


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  • Make a laughingstock of

    Lay open to ridicule, as in They made a laughingstock of the chairman by inviting him to the wrong meeting-place, or She felt she was making a laughingstock of herself, always wearing the wrong clothes for the occasion. The noun laughingstock replaced the earlier mockingstock and sportingstock, now obsolete. The idiom was first recorded in […]

  • Make a living

    Earn enough to support oneself, as in Can he make a living as a freelance trumpeter? This term was first recorded in 1632.

  • Make a long story short

    Get to the point, as in To make a long story short, they got married and moved to Omaha. Although the idea of abbreviating a long-winded account is ancient, this precise phrase dates only from the 1800s. Henry David Thoreau played on it in a letter of 1857: “Not that the story need be long, […]

  • Make a mess

    verb phrase To defecate; crap, shit: I’m afraid the kid has made a mess in his pants (1903+)

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