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Granted, "Thanks a mint" is an old timey phrase from when people said quaint things like 23 skidoo. But search engines do return instances of people still using the phrase, and the Google question completion offers it as an option as I start to write the phrase. In other words, it's not my imagination that it is a phrase known by others, yet I cannot find its definition in any online dictionary despite my best efforts via Google, Bing, and Dogpile searches.

From the comments I've seen thus far, the apparent explanation is that its usage is too infrequent to merit inclusion in even a crowd-sourced slang dictionary like urbandictionary.com. Is this correct? If yes, are there many phrases that fall into this category? Is Google ngrams the ultimate authority for determining whether a word or phrase merits a dictionary entry in the eyes of this audience? If "Thanks a mint" had returned the same Google ngrams result as "Thanks a bunch," then would my bewilderment suddenly become valid in the eyes of this audience?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Edwin Ashworth, Helmar, curiousdannii, David, RegDwigнt Aug 30 '17 at 10:33

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Never heard that one myself, but the obvious guess would be that it’s quite straightforwardly a mint, meaning ‘a large sum of money’ (as in “Cost me a mint, that did!”, similar to a pretty penny), being used to mean ‘a lot’ as a general concept. The fact that it’s so similar to a mil (which was also initially mostly applied to money, but is commonly used in “Thanks a mil” with a similar broadening) is just extra icing on the cake. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 30 '17 at 7:28
  • WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc. has << mint ... a large number or amount or extent >> and AHD has << An abundant amount, especially of money. >> A mint (source of 'unlimited money' obviously informs the more general 'large amount/s' sense. Other dictionaries (eg Collins) will not list this usage because their corpus studies do not find it to be sufficiently common. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '17 at 7:40
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    Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '17 at 7:44
  • Re: Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Edwin Ashworth... I tried Google, Bing, and Dogpile, and looked through all pages of returned results. None of those search engines points to any dictionary-like or etymology-site that discusses this phrase. – user7314320 Aug 30 '17 at 8:02
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    But look at the references in my comment, and Janus's comment: looking up 'mint' itself seems an obvious step to take, Wiktionary has: << (informal) A large amount of money. A vast sum or amount, etc. ... quotations ▲Shakespeare A mint of phrases in his brain. >> – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '17 at 8:13
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If you know that mint is slang for a “large sum of money”, the meaning of the phrase thanks a mint is easy enough to understand.

Why isn't the expression listed in dictionaries is probably due to the fact that there isn't enough room to list all the possible variants of this phrase, in fact, the most common versions are mentioned in Merriam-Webster

thanks a bunch/lot/million

informal

  • thank you very much Wow, this is great! Thanks a million!
    often used in an ironic way to say that one is not pleased that someone has done or said something
  • “I'm boring? Thanks a lot!”
  • Thanks a million for leaving the door open. There are flies everywhere now.

thanks a bunch is listed in the following dictionaries

Interestingly, Cambridge Dictionaries lists the phrase under

thanks for nothing (also thanks a bunch), (also thanks a lot)

  • used to show you are annoyed when someone has done something you are unhappy about or has failed to help you in some way.

Google Ngrams confirm that the phrase is either very rare or never used in publications.

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    +1 Nice answer. I think the question is interesting...but as usual...6 donwvotes..wow...what about suspending OP for one month? – user66974 Aug 30 '17 at 12:57
  • Thank you, Mari-Lou for a great (and patient) reply. Ironically, your reference to Cambridge suggests that "Thanks a mint" is actually an antonym for "Thanks a bunch" and "Thanks a lot" since Cambridge views those phrases to be sarcastic, whereas the usages of "Thanks a mint" that I've seen are sincere. – user7314320 Aug 31 '17 at 6:36
  • @user7314320 "Thanks a million " is possibly closer to being sincere than "Thanks a lot", "Thanks for nothing" etc. Why don't you cite the actual instances of thanks a mint instead of asking if Ngram determines popularity? Besides, it's the other way round. Ngram records instances of usage in books and in limited magazine publications. They have no "authority" over dictionary editors as far as I am aware. – Mari-Lou A Aug 31 '17 at 6:59

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