Costly Appendages

Short post today (I overslept!). Wanna know the meaning of the saying “it costs an arm and a leg”? This is really interesting.

Before cameras, portraits were obviously done by a painter. And the way painters charged for their work was by the limb. A headshot was the cheapest. If you wanted arms and legs included, it would cost more. Hence the saying.

Ever see paintings of George Washington and his contemporaries where they have one arm behind their back? Yeah, they were saving money. Blue light special. Poorer families would get only heads done; wealthier families had full bodies painted with all four limbs included.

Who’d a thunk limbs could cost so much?

Okay, this is fun. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what “going the whole nine yards” means. Unless someone wants to spoil it and leave a comment explaining the meaning.


About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on October 2, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Susan J. Reinhardt

    Hi Mike -Fascinating! It makes perfect sense. I should write all these down. I wouldn’t dream of spoiling tomorrow’s post. (Besides, I don’t know where the phrase originated.)Blessings,Susan 🙂


  2. Fun trivia, Mike, especially since I use that one. What about, “at all”? As in, “I’m not hungry at all.”


  3. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll give a hint to whet people’s appetites: Ammo. ~Luke


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