from rags to riches

Idioms & Phrases

from rags to riches

From being poor to being wealthy, especially through one's own efforts. For example, The invention catapulted the scientist from rags to riches. Horatio Alger (1834-1899) popularized this theme in some 130 best-selling novels, in which the hero, through hard work and thrift, pulled himself out of poverty to wealth and happiness.

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