Bank on it and take it to the bank

Bank on it and take it to the bank are two versions of an idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom bank on it or take it to the bank, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Bank on it and take it to the bank are both idioms that refer to something that one can depend on; they may describe an action, idea, statement, or promise that one can assume to be true and accurate. The expression bank on it, to mean to have faith that something is true and dependable, came into use around the turn of the twentieth century. The expression take it to the bank came into use mid-twentieth century and was popularized by an American television show, Baretta, which aired during the 1970s. The idea is that the thing being described can be counted on as dependably as the money that is locked in a bank safe.


I suppose that would be a good moment to debut some sort of secret, but I wouldn’t bank on it. (Forbes)

Reusing food waste instead of dumping it into landfills may seem like an obvious improvement from an environmental perspective, and producers bank on it by advertising their products with slogans such as “Fight climate change from your kitchen.” (Washington Post)

“If Tracy Read says something, I would take it to the bank,” Denman said. (Texas Monthly)

Unfortunately, you can take it to the bank that the Biden administration has no intention of pursuing the “invest” part of the slogan, unless you count social-welfare initiatives as national-security investments. I count them as socialism. (Wall Street Journal)

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