I was wondering whether there were any other alternatives to the phrase "highway robbery". I am trying to say the same thing in a light-hearted, but not too casual way.

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    I'm curious -- do you think "highway robbery" is too casual, or not light-hearted enough? – starwed Nov 2 '13 at 20:05

If you want to be light-hearted, you could use dramatic understatement and say a bit pricey.

You also could comment on whether you could afford to commit both an arm AND a leg to the purchase.

You might suggest that you are comfortable with being taken for a ride, but not with being run over.

You could indicate you like a neat appearance, but that doesn't mean you want to be taken to the cleaners or cleaned out.

You also might indicate your mild reluctance to being ripped off.


The other day I discovered the phrase clean shave that applies.

OED definintion:

a complete swindle or extortion.

It derives from a rather rare sense of shave meaning to strip someone clean of money or possessions. (sense 4)


I would suggest exorbitant, extortionate or overcharging.

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    While the OP's request is a bit vague, none of those words are particularly lighthearted. – starwed Nov 2 '13 at 20:06
  • It would depend on the tone/context. An over-the-top exclamation with mock indignation of 'That's extortionate!' could be lighthearted. – David Cox Nov 2 '13 at 20:36

I'm partial to that durable hippie creation ripoff or feisty synonyms like mugging, but the context may be amenable to a playful neologism like, um, say... swindlathon?... graspasm?... uberburglary???...

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