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The meaning and origin of the expression: A golden key can open any door

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A golden key can open any door

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Money opens any door.


This notion must be as old as money itself. The first person who is known to have written it down is the English playwright John Lyly, in Euphues and his England, 1580:

Who is so ignorant that knoweth not, gold be a key for euery locke, chieflye with his Ladye.

The proverb was the basis of the 1969 British comedy The Magic Christian, in which characters played by Peter Sellars and Ringo Starr use large amounts of money to bribe people to humiliate themselves by doing things completely out of character.

See also: the List of Proverbs.