Gravy train is an idiom with its roots sometime around the turn of the twentieth century. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the term gravy train, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.
A gravy train is a job or other source of income that generates abundant money with little effort. One may be said to be riding the gravy train, in such a situation. Gravy train is an American term, dating back to the early 1900s. It is popularly believed to have originally been a railroad term, referring to a train run that paid well with little effort on the part of the crew. However, so far there have been no examples found of its use to mean a literal train. At around the same time of the appearance of the term gravy train, the word gravy came to mean something easy to accomplish or something unexpectedly beneficial. The plural form of gravy train is gravy trains.
‘I cut off the gravy train,’ Trump boasted during a meeting with his Cabinet, calling the payments a ‘disgrace’ because they pad the pockets of insurers instead of helping poor people. (The Daily Mail)
High auto insurance premiums are a “boot on the throat of progress” in Detroit and the medical expenses have become “a gravy train” for business interests entangled in the business of treating injured drivers, Love said. (Crain’s Detroit Business)
Instead of relying on a gravy train of union and corporate donations — worth over $500,000 in the last elections in 2014 — they’ll have to find other ways to get voters’ attention and cash. (The Tri-City News)