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What does "the ones who can smell an expense account at forty paces" mean?

The sentence comes from this excerpt.

‘Nope. You would have been far too busy looking at the tall blonde girls with the endless legs and the big hair, the ones who can smell an expense account at forty paces. And anyway, I wouldn’t have been here. I would have been serving the drinks over there. One of the invisibles.’

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The phrase "smell smth. at long way away" means to be able to detect something. It implies that the person is very good at telling that someone has some property or just that something exists.

In your particular case it means the people who can tell someone has an expense account they can use to buy dinners or similar on expenses for the company they work for. It could also be talking about a job candidate who knows that a given position will afford them an expense account.

Forty paces is just one of the possible choices You can often hear "I can smell a liar a mile away" for example.

  • This is the paragraph: "‘Nope. You would have been far too busy looking at the tall blonde girls with the endless legs and the big hair, the ones who can smell an expense account at forty paces. And anyway, I wouldn’t have been here. I would have been serving the drinks over there. One of the invisibles.’" So I guess it is saying those women are good at spotting rich men, right? & Thank you for answering my question :) – user150466 Dec 7 '15 at 7:49
  • @user150466 Yes. Pretty much anyhow. – DRF Dec 7 '15 at 7:56
  • Yes now that you added that your thought process is correct – Chris Trudeau Dec 7 '15 at 7:56
  • @user150466 If you feel the answers answered your question please choose and accept one of them. – DRF Dec 7 '15 at 8:28
  • @user150466 you should always add the context in the question, not in comments. – Mari-Lou A Dec 7 '15 at 10:52
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Gold digger

A person who dates others purely to extract money from them, in particular a woman who strives to marry a wealthy man.

google.com

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