filthy lucre

filthy lucre

noun
money: to lose one's health for the sake of filthy lucre.

Origin:
1520–30

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

filthy lucre

Money; originally, money obtained dishonestly. For example, She didn't like the job but loved the filthy lucre in the form of her weekly paycheck. This term comes from the Bible (Titus 1:11), where it refers to those who teach wrongly for the sake of money. In time it came to be used loosely, and usually jokingly, for money in general, and in the mid-1900s gave rise to the jocular slang term the filthy for "money." Although both versions may be dying out, the expression filthy rich, for "extremely wealthy," survives.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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