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"filthy rich"

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 31, 2006

In Reply to: "Filthy rich" posted by rhallo on July 30, 2006

: what is the origin of the term "filthy rich"?

I don't know, but I suspect that it became popular in the 1920s. Just a guess. It means very rich, of course, and I think it carries a tone of excessive or undeserved wealth. I would be surprised if it had nothing at all to do with the popularity through several centuries of the term, filthy lucre.
OED: "b. filthy lucre: dishonourable gain... (Tit. i. 11). Sometimes jocularly used for: Money; also absol. 'The filthy'.
1526-34 TINDALE Titus i. 11 Teachinge thinges which they ought not, because of filthy lucre. 1680 HICKERINGILL Meroz 30. 1709 ADDISON Tatler No. 116 {page}7, I did not make that Judgment for the Sake of filthy Lucre. 1855 TROLLOPE Warden xi. 175 No man lived less addicted to filthy lucre than the warden. 1877 BLACKMORE Cripps 225, I can catch my own without any appeal to 'the Filthy'. 1928 A. HUXLEY Let. 19 July 301 A considerable sale..and a corresponding quantity of filthy lucre. 1931 WODEHOUSE If I were You ii. 27 Just trying to make a bit of the filthy."