There is an idiomatic phrase I have in my head but I can't seem to find it in online resources so I'm wondering if I've misremembered and in fact it doesn't exist or if I've remembered it correctly but it's not used outside of my circle.

The phrase is

I would've taken [personal pronoun] arm off!

It means to be feel that an offer is extremely good such that one would rush to accept.

For example:

Normally the day rate is 100, but he offered me 200 for half a day's work - if I hadn't been preoccupied I would've taken his arm off!

It's a metaphor imagining the offer was a morsel of food in the palm of a hand offered to the speaker, which he would devour so enthusiastically that the hand and its arm were eaten as well.

Has anyone else heard this?

4 Answers 4


It is possible that what you remember is some form of:

  • to bite his/her hand/arm off

I would have bitten his hand off to be offered such an opportunity

  • I think this is right (and my answer isn't though I'll leave it there for now). I hadn't heard the phrase before, but I found this in the Urban dictionary.
    – S Conroy
    Oct 18, 2018 at 17:25

This isn't quite what you described in terms of who suffers, but I'll throw it out there anyway. In my mind it makes more sense if you want to express how badly you want something that you (figuratively at least) would be prepared to suffer to get it (I mean rather than injuring the other person).

You might be looking for to give an arm and a leg for something

give an arm and a leg for something
If you say that you would give an arm and a leg for something or to do something, you mean that you want it very much. I'd give an arm and a leg for a cup of tea. Any jazz professional would give an arm and a leg for half an hour playing with Wynton Marsalis.

  • I've always seen the "arm and a leg" metaphor as related to cost... Oct 18, 2018 at 18:22
  • Yeh, I've heard that one too: It'll cost you an arm and a leg.
    – S Conroy
    Oct 18, 2018 at 18:31
  • I've always seen the "arm and a leg" euphemism used with "cost". "I'd give my right arm for that" is what initially came to mind when I first saw the title. Oct 18, 2018 at 18:38

lunge for someone or something TFD idiom

to charge or jump at someone or something; to attack someone or something

As in:

Without pause, he lunged at the opportunity!


Is your idiom possibly somehow related to "Gobble up" an opportunity?

Normally the day rate is 100, but he offered me 200 for half a day's work - if I hadn't been preoccupied I would've "gobbled it up"!


After having offered the first idiom above, it seemed more likely you wanted an idiomatic expression that actually uses "literal" loss of limb. So, I looked around some more, and now I am questioning a few things. I thought I would add these out of further interest:

I have definitely heard the phrase almost took (bit) my arm off" relating to an extremely eager acceptance of a morsel of food (offer?). Possibly it is considered too literal in meaning to be an idiom, but it does seem like a very commonly used phrase (and frequently not intended literally). I can't find much on it as an idiom or a figurative expression.

While I was looking for the one above, to my added surprise, the odd idiom "to talk someone's arm off" appeared. I always thought that idiom was correctly stated as "to talk someone's ear off", but I couldn't find the latter usage. I finally found "talk (one's) ear(s) off" instead, so now I can figure that one out. But, still, I have never heard the first idiom "to talk someone's arm off. I'm now wondering if this is a real case of the mandela effect.




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