Idiom:  a small fortune

Dollar signs printed on the paperslips sticking out of fortune cookies to depict the idiom

Meaning

Idiom:  a small fortune

  • a large quantity or amount of money

Note:  This idiom seems strange to learners because a "fortune" is defined as a large amount of money. So why would the idiom include the word "small" to refer to something large? I'm not actually sure about the origins of this idiom and why this is so. 

Just know that you can say something "costs a fortune" or "costs a small fortune" and both refer to "a large amount of money."


Example sentences

— We wanted our daughter to go to college but she refused since she's been making a small fortune as an Instagram influencer.

— I love driving a BMW but it's cost me a small fortune.

— My husband wants to spend a small fortune on a cruise but we really don't have the money to do it this year.

— We bought business class tickets for the flight to Manila. Although it cost a small fortune, my boyfriend is 6'4" and it's an 18-hour flight.

— I'm willing to bet a small fortune that France will win the World Cup.

— Getting your hair colored and nails done every month will cost you a small fortune.

— We paid a small fortune to live in Manhattan but living in the city was awesome.

— If you want to make a small fortune, then go into corporate accounting.

— Going to a private university in the United States costs a small fortune.

— When my grandmother passed away, she left me a small fortune in her will.


Synonyms

  • king's ransom
  • big bucks
  • a princely sum
  • a pot of gold


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