To hit pay dirt means to strike it rich, to discover something valuable. In mining, pay dirt is the soil or gravel which contains a high enough concentration of ore to make the mining of the area profitable, when someone hits pay dirt he has mined far enough into the earth to find the profitable layer of ore. The term pay dirt originated in the American Old West in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush. By the 1870s the term pay dirt was also used to refer to any method of striking it rich or discovering something valuable. The preferred spelling is two words, pay dirt, though paydirt is often used.
McDonald’s hit sales pay dirt in 2015 thanks to cheap gas, good weather, and the introduction of an all-day breakfast menu. (The Christian Science Monitor)
Indianapolis has hit pay dirt with a multiyear deal intended to keep the lucrative NFL Scouting Combine here through 2020, just as competition to host the high-profile event intensifies (The Indianapolis Business Journal)
“I typed in his name and instantly hit pay dirt,” Morris tells PEOPLE. (People Magazine)
Raise a glass of Sculpin to Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, which hit pay dirt when Constellation Brands—owner of Corona, Modelo, and Pacifico—added Ballast Point to its portfolio. (San Diego Magazine)
The Broncos quarterback showed the arm still had some life on the opening drive, marching the Broncos 83 yards to paydirt. (The Boston Herald)
Sin City investigators had been after Dr. Andrew Scott Martin, 47, for months and finally hit paydirt after two undercovers started attending his kinky galas. (The New York Daily News)
St. Louis linebacker Akeem Akers scooped the loose ball into his arms and sprinted 45 yards to paydirt. (The Seattle Times)