Where did the saying 'it'll cost an arm and a leg' come from? FaTboTtom GrLs mKe worLD GoRound

Although no one seems to be sure from where the phrase "cost an arm and a leg" came, the most popular theory is that it came about during World War I. One of the many costs of battle is that of the soldiers that lose one or more limbs, this being a very high cost. It might even be said directly that the war cost him his arm or leg. A less likely theory is that in the 1800s portraits would cost more if the painter was required to include more than a bust, thus a full portrait with arms and legs cost more.
Updated on Wednesday, February 01 2012 at 10:47AM EST
Collections: portraits1800'sshoulderslegarm