Break the bank

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Break the bank is an idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom break the bank, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Break the bank means to exhaust one’s economic resources or to be financially ruined. The expression break the bank is often used in the negative to mean something is not expensive; for example, one may say that buying a modestly priced item will not break the bank. The earliest meaning of break the bank applied to gambling. In gambling, breaking the bank means winning more money than the establishment can pay out. The phrase break the bank came into use during late 1600s-early 1700s. Related phrases are breaks the bank, broke the bank, broken the bank, breaking the bank.


Babies cost money but, if you plan right, they needn’t break the bank. (Irish Times)

To all parents: Don’t break the bank to send your kids to their dream school (USA Today)

“The issue was finding a pretty patch of land that wouldn’t break the bank and was within an hour or so drive of a city with a decent music scene,” says Volkaert. (Roanoker Magazine)

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