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Cost an arm and a leg

Posted by R. Berg on April 10, 2002

In Reply to: Cost an arm and a leg posted by Bob on April 09, 2002

: : Can anyone please tell me where this phrase "Costs an arm and a leg" comes from? Not the menaing of it but where it originates. Thanks

: Aprevious posting has some speculation:

Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases." says this phrase comes from the U.S. and that its probable origin is another phrase, "if it takes a leg!" About the latter phrase, he says "'Threat of a desperado, in search of revenge' (George P. Burnham, 'Memoirs of the United States Secret Service,' 1872): US underworld: c. 1850-1910. Even at the cost of a leg."