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Word and Phrase Origins
Symbolism and Symbolic Meanings

What does 'making money for old rope' mean?

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December 28, 2009 11:23AM

To obtain 'money for old rope' is to gain when not expected to. Old rope is a difficult material to value, so it is most often just discarded rather than risk further loss by depending on material of unknown worth or capability.

THE SAYING MONEY FOR OLD ROPE IS DERIVED FROM DAYS IN THE WORKHOUSE, WORKERS WHERE GIVEN DAMAGED, AND USED ROPE TO PICK INTO STRANDS WHICH WOULD THEN BE RE SPUN INTO NEW ROPE, THEY WOULD EARN JUST ENOUGH MONEY FOR A MEAL, HENCE THE SAYING "MONEY FOR OLD ROPE"