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free lunch

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noun

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.

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Origin of free lunch

First recorded in 1835–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use free lunch in a sentence

Idioms and Phrases with free lunch

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.
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