Break the bank


      • spend a large amount of money
        to refer to spending an excessive or extravagant amount of money, usually beyond one's means

      • achieve a major success or accomplishment
        to refer to achieving a significant or noteworthy success, often in the context of a financial or competitive endeavor

    Examples of Break the bank

    • The lavish wedding of the celebrity couple left the guests in awe, but it reportedly cost them millions and they are now going to be in serious debt, breaking the bank in the process.

      This idiom is used when something costs a lot of money and causes financial trouble for the person or organization paying for it, to the extent that it could bankrupt them. In this example, the couple's extravagant wedding celebration has left them financially strained.

    • The gambler at the casino lost so much money that he couldn't afford to continue playing, breaking the bank in the process.

      This idiom is used to describe someone who has lost a significant amount of money, particularly in gambling, that they are no longer able to spend more money at the game. The casino's funds have been exhausted as a result of the gambler's wagering.

    • The cost of the new technology product is absolutely astronomical, equivalent to breaking the bank for most people.

      This idiom is used to describe an exorbitantly high price for a product, beyond what is normally expected, to the point where it could financially damage the consumer. This product is so expensive that it can bankrupt a person.

    • The team's recent run of poor form has led to a massive financial loss for the club, effectively breaking the bank and putting the team's future in doubt.

      This idiom is used when a prolonged period of losses, such as over an extended sports season, results in a significant financial strain on the organization, potentially bankrupting them. The club is suffering from severe financial setbacks due to their run of poor results.

    • The casino mogul's high-rolling lifestyle often sees him bet extravagant sums, sometimes breaking the bank in a single game.

      When a gambler bets so much money that the casino runs out of funds to pay them, it's said that they have "broken the bank." This idiom originated from the past when casinos kept money in a physical safe or "bank."

    • The extravagant wedding ceremony left the bride's parents with a hefty bill, almost breaking the bank.

      This example signifies that the expense of the event was so great that it came very close to exceeding the financial capabilities of the people involved.

    • The auction for the rare antique vase exceeded all expectations, with the winning bid breaking the bank.

      This example could be used in situations where the price someone is willing to pay for an item is extremely high, again exceeding the previous highest selling price for the item.

    • The construction project for the new convention center was so expensive that it almost broke the bank.

      This idiom can be used to illustrate situations in which a financial undertaking is more expensive than anticipated, much like the previous examples.


    The idiom "break the bank" can be used in two main ways. It can either refer to spending a large amount of money, often beyond one's means, or achieving a major success or accomplishment, particularly in a financial or competitive context.

    In the first sense, it is often used to caution against overspending or to describe someone who has spent an excessive or extravagant amount. In the second sense, it is used to highlight a significant or noteworthy success, particularly in the context of financial or competitive achievements.

    Overall, the idiom "break the bank" is a versatile phrase that can be used in various situations to convey the idea of excessive spending or remarkable success.

    Origin of "Break the bank"

    The origin of the idiom "break the bank" can be traced back to the world of gambling. In casino games such as blackjack or poker, the term "bank" refers to the total amount of money that the house has available for bets. When a player wins a significant amount of money, it could potentially "break the bank" by depleting the house's funds. Over time, the idiom came to be used more broadly to refer to any situation where a large amount of money is involved, whether in spending or winning.

    Another possible origin of the idiom could be related to the concept of breaking into a safe or vault to access a large sum of money. In this sense, "breaking the bank" would signify gaining access to a significant amount of wealth. Regardless of its exact origins, the idiom has become a common and colorful expression in the English language.