food provided without charge in some bars and saloons to attract customers.
Informal. something given with no expectation of repayment, service, responsibility, etc.: In politics there's no free lunch—everyone expects favors to be repaid.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use free lunch in a sentence
Targeting lower-cost conversions can be risky because there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Many of the children speak a language other than English at home and qualify for free lunch through their schools.
In the physical world, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s also true on the internet.
In other words—no one, or at least very few, gets a free lunch.Junk Food Is Bad For Plants, Too - Issue 90: Something Green | Anne Biklé & David R. Montgomery | September 23, 2020 | Nautilus
It’s not quite a free lunch, but it should at least put food in the nation’s stomachs.
It promises those who sign up that “you'll get a free lunch and a chance to meet and interact with Iowa GOP staffers.”
Other school districts around the country have been adopting the “no such thing as a free lunch” policy.The Schools That Starve Students to Punish Deadbeat Parents | Brandy Zadrozny | January 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Of course, the Vatican insists that there is really no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to the road to heaven.A Tweeting Pope Raises Questions About Social Media’s Effect on the Church | Lawrence M. Krauss | September 11, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Which is why I find it a bit surprising that we haven't had politicians complaining about this "corporate free lunch."
After all, if the tax break goes away, these companies can still buy the free lunch; they just can't deduct it from their taxes.
There is nothing to do but climb this tree, unless you want to furnish a free lunch for those brutes.
The odd jobs about saloons which are usually done for beer-payment he performed under the inspiration of the free-lunch counter.To Him That Hath | Leroy Scott
The locomotive was about two-saucepan power, my boy, and wheezed like a New York Alderman at a free lunch.The Orpheus C. Kerr Papers. Series 1 | Robert H. Newell
He lives on beer, and when he helps himself to the free lunch on the counter, he eats little more than a bird.Beggars | W. H. (William Henry) Davies
"This is all very well as a 'free lunch' conspiracy; but you're forgetting your parole," he said, in a low voice.The Crusade of the Excelsior | Bret Harte
Other Idioms and Phrases with free lunch
Something acquired without due effort or cost. For example, In politics there is no free lunch; every favor calls for repayment. This expression alludes to the custom of taverns offering food free of charge to induce customers to buy drinks. It was soon extended to other kinds of gift but is often used in a negative way, as in the example. [First half of 1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.