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Money Idioms


above par

- more than average, above normal, more than the face value of a bond or stock or currency

The currency was selling above par at the small exchange shop.


almighty dollar

- money when it is viewed as more important than anything else

The man spent most of his life chasing the almighty dollar.


ante up

- to pay money, to produce a necessary amount of money

I had to ante up a lot of money to get my car fixed.


as phony as a three-dollar bill

- phony, not genuine

The man who was asking for donations for the charity was as phony as a three-dollar bill.


as poor as a church mouse

- very poor

The young mother is as poor as a church mouse and she has little money to feed her family.


as sound as a dollar

- very secure and dependable

The company president believes that his business is as sound as a dollar.


at a premium

- at a higher price than usual because of something special

The tickets for the final basketball game were selling at a premium.


at all costs

- at any expense of time or effort or money

We plan to send our child to a good school at all costs.


back on one`s feet

- to return to good financial health

My sister is back on her feet after losing her job last year.


balance the books/accounts

- to make sure that all money is accounted for by using generally accepted accounting methods

The small business owner works very hard to balance the books of her company.


below par

- lower than average, below normal, less than the face value of a bond or stock or currency

The government bonds were selling at a price that was below par.


bet on the wrong horse

- to base one`s plans on a wrong guess about the results of something

We are betting on the wrong horse if we continue to support the other candidate for mayor.


bet one`s bottom dollar

- to bet all that one has on something because you are sure that you will win

I would bet my bottom dollar that the accounting manager will be late again today.


beyond one's means

- more than one can afford

The young man was living beyond his means before he got his first job.


born with a silver spoon in one`s mouth

- to be born to wealth and comfort, to be born rich

The new student in our class was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has had an easy life.


bottom dollar

- one`s last dollar

The man spent his bottom dollar on some new clothes to wear for his job interview.


bottom line

- the line in a financial statement that shows net income or loss

The bottom line in the company's financial statement was much worse than expected.


bottom line

- the final result, the main point

The bottom line was that we were unable to attend the conference because of our busy schedule.


bottom out

- to reach the lowest point

The value of the company's stock has recently appeared to bottom out.


bread and butter

- one's income, the source of someone's food

The man's business is his bread and butter and he works very hard to make it successful.


break even

- to have income equal to expenses

Our company was able to break even after only six months of operation.


break the bank

- to win all the money at a casino gambling table, to use all of one's money

The man broke the bank at the casino and walked away with much money.


bring home the bacon

- to earn the family living, to earn a salary

I have been working hard all month bringing home the bacon for my family.


burn a hole in one`s pocket

- to stimulate someone to spend money quickly

The money was burning a hole in the man's pocket when he decided to go to the casino.


buy off (someone) or buy (someone) off

- to give money to someone to stop them from doing their duty

The man tried to buy off the politician but the politician refused to agree to the plan.


buy (something) for a song

- to buy something cheaply

I was able to buy my first house for a song.


by check

- by using a check

I paid for the hotel room by check.


can take (something) to the bank

- a statement is true, something is guaranteed to be successful

I believe that we can take the new business plan to the bank.



- selling something for cash only and with no delivery

We were able to get a good price on a sofa in a cash-and-carry deal at the furniture store.


cash in (something) or cash (something) in

- to exchange coupons or bonds for their value in money

I cashed in my savings bonds in order to get some money to buy a car.


cash in on (something)

- to make money from an opportunity

The former basketball player cashed in on his popularity to open a very successful restaurant.


cash in one`s chips

- to exchange or sell something to get some money (from the chips used in a poker game)

I decided to cash in my chips and go back to school.


cash on the barrelhead

- money paid in cash when something is bought

I gave the salesman cash on the barrelhead for the used car.


caught short

- to not have enough money when you need it

I was caught short and had to borrow some money from my father last week.



- a person who will not spend much money, a stingy person

My friend is a cheapskate and will not go to a movie with me.


chicken feed

- a small amount of money

The amount of money that I paid for the used car was chicken feed.


chip in (money)

- to contribute money for something, to pay jointly for something

Everybody in our office chipped in some money to buy a wedding present for our boss.


chisel (someone) out of (something)

- to cheat someone to get money or something

The criminal tried to chisel the small business owner out of much money.


clean up

- to make a lot of money, to make a big profit

I cleaned up at the horse races last year and I still have some of the money left.


closefisted (with money)

- to be very stingy with money

The man is closefisted with money and will not spend it.


cold hard cash

- cash or coins or bills

I paid for the stereo in cold hard cash.


control the purse strings

- to be in charge of the money in a business or a household

My sister controls the purse strings in her family.


cook the books/accounts

- to illegally change information in the accounting books in a company, to write down false numbers in the accounting books in a company

The accountant was cooking the books for more than one year before he was caught.


cost a pretty penny

- to cost a lot of money

It is going to cost a pretty penny to get my car fixed.


cost an arm and a leg

- to cost a lot of money

My new television cost an arm and a leg.


cross (someone's) palm with silver

- to give money to someone in payment for a service

We had to cross the apartment manager's palm with silver in order to rent the apartment.


cut one's losses

- to reduce one's losses of money or something else

The owners decided to sell the soccer team in order to cut their losses.


cut (someone) a check

- to write a check (usually used for a company which automatically produces a check with a computer)

The company cut me a check to pay for my extra work.


cut (someone) off without a penny

- to stop giving someone a regular amount of money, to leave someone no money in a will

The wealthy businessman cut his son off without a penny when the young man refused to work hard.



- a price that is lower than usual

We went to a cut-rate furniture store to buy some new furniture for our apartment.



- a person who never pays the money that he or she owes

Recently, the government is trying to solve the problem of deadbeat fathers who do not support their families.


a dime a dozen

- easy to get and therefore of little value

Used computers are a dime a dozen and they have little value.


dirt cheap

- extremely cheap

The land was dirt cheap when we bought it.


dollar for dollar

- considering the cost

Dollar for dollar the new hotel is the best bargain in this city for tourists.



- having no money

My friend was down-and-out for many years before he got a job.


draw interest

- (for money) to earn interest while it is on deposit at a bank

We put the money into our bank account so that it would draw interest.


Dutch treat

- a situation where each person pays his or her own share of the expenses

The movie was a Dutch treat so I did not have to pay for my date.


easy money

- money that you do not need to work hard to get

I was able to make some easy money from my job during the summer.


face value

- the value or price printed on a stamp or bond or paper money

The face value of the stamp was very low but it was worth a lot of money.


a fast buck

- money that is earned quickly and easily (and sometimes dishonestly)

The company tried to make a fast buck on the property but actually they lost a lot of money.


feed the kitty

- to contribute money to a special collection

Everybody had to feed the kitty in order to collect money for the party.


feel like a million dollars/bucks

- to feel wonderful, to feel well and healthy

Although I have been sick for a few weeks I feel like a million dollars today.


flat broke

- to have no money at all

I am flat broke and do not have enough money to pay my rent.


float a loan

- to get a loan, to arrange for a loan

I decided to float a loan to get some money to buy a car.


a fool and his money are soon parted

- if a person acts unwisely with money he or she will soon lose it

A fool and his money are soon parted and when the young man got the money from his father he soon spent it.


foot the bill

- to pay for something

My sister will foot the bill for her daughter's education if she decides to go to university.


for a song

- at a low price, cheaply

We bought the car for a song and will use it on our holidays.


(not) for love or money

- not for anything, not for any price (usually used in the negative)

I would not want to have that man's job for love or money.


for my money

- used before you say something to show that it is your opinion

"For my money, I believe that the new company policy will not be successful."


for peanuts

- for very little money

The man had no money and was willing to work for peanuts.


fork out money (for something) or fork money out (for something)

- to pay for something

I had to fork out much money to get my car fixed.


fork over (some money) or fork (some money) over

- to pay money for something

I forked over much money for the painting that is hanging on my wall.


free and clear

- (to own something) completely and without owing any money

Our neighbor owns his house free and clear.


from rags to riches

- from poverty to wealth

The man went from rags to riches with his hard work.


get a run for one's money

- to receive a challenge, to receive what one deserves

The man got a run for his money when he decided to volunteer for the cleaning project.


get along on a shoestring

- to be able to live on very little money

The woman was forced to get along on a shoestring when she was a student.


get one's money's worth

- to get everything (or even a little more) that one has paid for

We got our money's worth when we were able to spend the day at the water park.


give (someone) a blank check

- to let someone act as they want or as they think is necessary (like a check that has the amount left blank)

The city gave the new department a blank check to try and solve the homeless problem.


give (someone) a run for their money

- to give someone a challenge, to give someone what they deserve

The young candidate for the city park board gave the more experienced candidate a run for his money during the election.


go broke

- to lose all of one`s money, to become bankrupt

My uncle started a company last year but it quickly went broke.


go Dutch

- to share in the cost of a meal or some other event

We decided to go Dutch when we went to the restaurant for dinner.


go to the expense (of doing something)

- to pay the cost of doing something

I do not want to go to the expense of buying a new sofa for our apartment.


going rate

- the current rate

The going rate for used bicycles is not very much.


gravy train

- a job or some work that pays more than it is worth

The job was a gravy train and I made a lot of money when I worked there.


grease (someone`s) palm

- to pay for a special favor or for extra help, to bribe someone

We had to grease the palm of the hotel manager to get a room.


a handout

- a gift of money (usually from the government)

The bus company has received many handouts from the government.


hard up

- to not have much money

The man is always hard up for money and he often wants to borrow some.


have an itchy/itching palm

- to ask for tips or money

The hotel clerk has an itchy palm and he is always asking for money.


have money to burn

- to have very much money, to have more money than is needed

My aunt has money to burn and she is always travelling somewhere.


have one's hand in the till

- to be stealing money from a company or an organization

The clerk had her hand in the till so we decided to fire her.


have sticky fingers

- to be a thief

The new employee has sticky fingers and many things in the store have disappeared.


have the Midas touch

- to have the ability to make money easily (King Midas turned everything that he touched into gold)

My uncle has the Midas touch and every business that he starts makes a lot of money.


(not) have two cents to rub together

- to not have much money

My friend does not have two cents to rub together and he is always broke.


He who pays the piper calls the tune.

- the person who pays for something has control over how the money is used

He who pays the piper calls the tune and the owner of the sports team can decide who will play on the team.


head over heels in debt

- to be deeply in debt

My cousin is head over heels in debt and has no money at all.


heads or tails

- the face of a coin or the other side of the coin

The referee threw the coin to see if it would be heads or tails.


highway robbery

- the charging of a high price for something

The amount of money that the company is charging for its services is highway robbery.


hit pay dirt

- to make a valuable discovery, to find the dirt in which much gold is found

We hit pay dirt when we got the rights to distribute the new product.


hit the jackpot

- to make a lot of money suddenly (usually from gambling)

We hit the jackpot at the casino and came home with much money.


honor (someone's) check

- to accept someone's personal check

The bank refused to honor my check for the apartment rent.


ill-gotten gains

- money acquired in a dishonest or illegal manner

The ill-gotten gains of the politician were the subject of a large government inquiry.


in clover

- in a very good financial situation

My aunt and uncle have been in clover since my uncle got his new job.


in debt

- owing money

The man is in debt and owes much money to many people.


in kind

- in goods rather than money

I paid for the work on my car in kind rather than with cash.


in the black

- to be profitable, to make money

Our company has been in the black since it started.


in the chips

- with much money, wealthy

My grandfather was in the chips after they discovered oil on his farm.


in the hole

- to be in debt, to owe money

I think that we are now in the hole and our business is having trouble.


in the money

- to be wealthy, to suddenly get a lot of money

I am in the money now that I won the lottery.


in the red

- to be unprofitable, to be losing money, to be in debt

The company has been in the red for several months now and may soon go bankrupt.


jack up the price (of something)

- to raise the price of something

The store jacked up the prices of their summer stock at the beginning of the summer.


keep books

- to keep records of money that is earned and spent

Our accountant is keeping careful books of all the transactions in the company.


keep the wolf from the door

- to earn enough money to maintain oneself at a minimal level of existence

My job does not pay very well but it is enough to keep the wolf from the door.



- money paid illegally for favorable treatment

The politician received several illegal kickbacks and he was forced to resign.


last of the big spenders

- a humorous way to describe someone who spends a lot of money for something (although he or she may not want to spend it)

The man is pretending to be the last of the big spenders as he spends money during his holidays.


lay away money

- to save money

I am trying hard to lay away enough money to buy a car.


lay out (money)

- to spend or pay money

I had to lay out a lot of money to get my car fixed so now I do not have much money.


layaway plan

- a plan in which one pays some money as a downpayment and then pays a little more when one is able and the store holds the goods until the full price is paid

We bought our furniture on the layaway plan at the store.


let the buyer beware

- let the person who buys something check to see if the product is in good condition or has no problems

Consumers of electronic products should remember the motto of "let the buyer beware," when they buy something.


live beyond one's means

- to spend more money than you can afford

The girl is living beyond her means and will soon have some serious financial problems.


live from hand to mouth

- to live on little money

My friend has been living from hand to mouth and is now using his savings from his previous job.


live high off/on the hog

- to have the best of everything, to live in great comfort

My mother and father have been living high off the hog since they won the lottery.


live within one's means

- to spend no more money than one has

I try very hard to live within my means so that I do not have any financial pressure.



- to have lots of money

My uncle is loaded and has lots of money.


look like a million dollars

- to look very good

The woman looked like a million dollars when she went to accept the award.


lose money hand over fist

- to lose money fast and in large amounts

The new coffee shop is losing money hand over fist.


lose one`s shirt

- to lose all or most of one`s money

I lost my shirt in a small business and now I have no money.


(not) made of money

- to not have a lot of money (usually used in the negative to say that you do not have enough money for something)

I am not made of money and I do not like wasting it on stupid things.


make a buck

- to make money

I am working hard trying to make a buck.


make a bundle/pile

- to make a lot of money

I made a bundle on the stock market and decided to buy a house.


make a check out to (someone)

- to write a check with someone's name on it

I made a check out to the man who repaired my bathroom.


make a fast/quick buck

- to make money with little effort

The young man is very lazy and he is always trying to make a fast buck.


make a killing

- to make a large amount of money

My sister made a killing when she worked overseas in the oil industry.


make a living

- to earn enough money to live

The man works hard to make a living and support his family.


make an honest buck

- to make an honest living

The man has always made an honest buck with his work.


make big bucks

- to make a lot of money

My friend is making big bucks at his company.


make ends meet

- to have enough money to pay one`s bills and other expenses

I have been having trouble making ends meet because the rent for my apartment is very high.


make good money

- to earn a large amount of money

My friend makes good money at his new job.


make money hand over fist

- to make money fast and in large amounts

My cousin has been making money hand over fist with her business.


money burns a hole in (someone's) pocket

- someone spends money very quickly, someone is stimulated to spend money quickly

The money is burning a hole in my pocket and I want to spend it.


money doesn't grow on trees

- money is valuable and you should not waste it

Money doesn't grow on trees and it is necessary to work hard and manage it well.


money is no object

- it does not matter how much something costs

Money is no object and I plan to stay in the best hotels during my holiday.


(one's) money is on (someone)

- you think that someone will win a competition or sports event etc.

My money is on the young horse that is racing for the first time today.


money is the root of all evil

- money causes most problems or wrongdoings in life

Many people believe that money is the root of all evil and that it causes people many problems.


money talks

- money gives one the power to get or do what he or she wants

Money talks and when I go to a restaurant with my rich uncle we always get very good service.


nest egg

- the money that someone has saved up

I made a nest egg when I was working and I am now able to go to school.


nickel and dime (someone)

- to charge many small amounts of money (which eventually equal a large amount of money)

The small repairs on my car are beginning to nickel and dime me.


not for love nor money

- not for anything (no matter what the amount or price)

I will not meet with that woman again for love nor money.


on a dime

- in a very small space

I had to turn my car on a dime after I entered the parking lot.


on a shoestring

- with little money to spend, on a very low budget

My cousin started his business on a shoestring but now it is very successful.


on credit

- using credit to buy something

I bought the new stereo on credit.


on sale

- for sale at a discounted price

The DVD's were on sale when I bought them.


on the house

- paid for by the owner of a business

All of the drinks at the restaurant were on the house.


on the money

- exactly the right place or time or amount of something, exactly the right idea

Our estimate of next year's budget is right on the money.


on the take

- to be accepting bribes

The agent at the border crossing seems to be on the take.


out-of-pocket expenses

- the actual amount of money that someone spends for something

My out-of-pocket expenses for the business trip were very low.


pad the bill

- to add false expenses to a bill

The plumber who was fixing our plumbing system was padding the bill so we got a new plumber.


pass the buck

- to make another person decide something, to put the responsibility or blame on someone else

Our supervisor always passes the buck and he will never take responsibility for what he does.


pass the hat

- to collect money for something (sometimes by passing a hat around to put the money into)

We passed the hat to collect some money for the party.


pay a king's ransom (for something)

- to pay a great deal for something

I had to pay a king's ransom for a ticket to the final basketball game.


pay an arm and a leg for (something)

- to pay a high price for something

I paid an arm and a leg for my car but I am not very happy with it.


pay as you go

- to pay for things as they occur (rather than on credit)

I will have to pay as I go if I go to graduate school next year.


pay in advance

- to pay for something before you get or use it

I must pay in advance for the bus company to deliver my boxes.


pay off (someone) or pay (someone) off

- to pay someone a bribe for something

The owner of the store had to pay off the gang who were threatening him.


pay off (something) or pay (something) off

- to pay the total amount of something

I paid off my student loan after one year of work.


pay one's own way

- to pay the costs for something yourself

The young girl paid her own way through college.


pay the piper

- to face the results of one's actions, to be punished for something

The city government was forced to pay the piper after many years of bad management.
The student wasted most of the term playing. He was forced to pay the piper when the professor assigned much work at the end of the term.


pay through the nose

- to pay a very high price, to pay too much

I paid through the nose when I had to buy gasoline in the small town.


pay up

- to pay now

I had to pay up my parking tickets or I would lose my driving license.



- a bribe

The mayor received a payoff and was forced to resign from his position.


pennies from heaven

- money that you do not expect to get

The money that I received from the government was like pennies from heaven and I was very happy.


penny for one`s thoughts

- a request that asks someone what he or she is thinking about

"I will give you a penny for your thoughts," I said to my friend who was looking out of the window.


penny pincher

- a person who is very careful with his or her money - even very small amounts like a single penny

The man is a penny pincher and will never spend any money.


a penny saved is a penny earned

- saving money by not spending it is the same as earning money from working

A penny saved is a penny earned and it is better to be thrifty sometimes than to only work more hours.


penny-wise and pound foolish

- to be careful or thrifty in small expenditures but careless or wasteful in large ones

My friend is penny-wise and pound foolish and she economizes on small things but wastes much money on big things.


pick up the tab/check

- to pay the bill for something

I picked up the tab for my sister and her children at the restaurant.


piggy bank

- a small bank or container for saving money that is sometimes in the shape of a pig

The small boy saved much money in his piggy bank.


pinch pennies

- to be careful with money, to be thrifty

My grandmother always pinches pennies and never spends her money foolishly.


play the market

- to invest in the stock market

My father likes to play the market and he sometimes makes a lot of money.


pony up

- to pay

I had to pony up a lot of money to get my car repaired.


pour money down the drain

- to waste money

The man is pouring money down the drain by always repairing his old car.


put in one`s two cents (worth)

- to add one's comments or opinion to a discussion

I stood up in the meeting and put in my two cents worth before I sat down.


put one's money where one's mouth is

- to stop talking about something and do it, to stop talking and make a bet on something

I was forced to put my money where my mouth is and either go to Europe or stop talking about it.


put the bite on (someone)

- to try to get money from someone

The young man often puts the bite on his father before the weekend.


quick buck

- some money earned quickly and easily

The small company is only interested in making a quick buck and is not interested in product quality.


quote a price

- to say in advance how much something will cost

I asked the salesman to quote a price for the new product.


rain check

- a promise to repeat an invitation at a later date

I decided to take a rain check and will go to the restaurant with my friend another time.


raise the ante

- to increase your demands or the amount that you spend for something (the ante is the amount of money each player puts on the table before starting a game of cards or poker)

The union raised the ante with the company when they said that they were going to go on strike.


rake in the money

- to make a lot of money

We have been raking in the money at our restaurant since it opened.


rake off (some money) or rake (some money) off

- to steal a portion of a payment or money

The cashiers were raking off some of the money from the store.


red cent

- a small sum of money (usually used in the negative)

I would not give a red cent for my neighbor's car.


rolling in money

- to have lots of money

The man is rolling in money and he always has much money to spend.


salt away (money) or salt (money) away

- to save money

My uncle salted away thousands of dollars before he died.


save up (for something)

- to save money in order to buy something

I am saving up for a new television set.


scrape (something) together or scrape together (something)

- to save small amounts of money (usually with some difficulty) for something

We scraped together some money and bought a present for our friend.


scrimp and save

- to spend little money in order to save for something

The woman has been scrimping and saving to buy a new car.


see the color of (someone's) money

- to make sure that someone has enough money for something

I will not give the man the product until I see the color of his money.


set (someone) back or set back (someone)

- to cost a certain amount of money

My friend asked me how much my new coat had set me back.


shake (someone) down or shake down (someone)

- to blackmail or extract money from someone

The gang tried to shake down the owner of the small store.


shell out (money) or shell (money) out

- to pay money for something

My father shelled out a lot of money to get his house painted.


sitting on a goldmine

- to own something very valuable (and often not realize this)

My sister is sitting on a goldmine with her collection of antiques.


smart money is on (someone or something)

- people who know about money or business think that someone or something is good

The smart money is on the government to introduce the new law this week.


sock away (some money or something) or sock (some money or something) away

- to save or store some money or something

I am trying to sock away some money for my holiday.


spend money hand over fist

- to spend money fast and in large amounts

My friend is spending money hand over fist.


splurge on (something)

- to spend more money than one might ordinarily spend

We decided to splurge and go to a nice restaurant for dinner.


square accounts with (someone)

- to settle one's financial accounts with someone

I went to the small store to square accounts with the owner.


squirrel away (some money) or squirrel (some money) away

- to save some money

I was able to squirrel away much money from my previous job.


stone broke

- to have no money

My friend is stone broke and will not be able to come to the movie with us.


strapped for cash

- to have little or no money available

I am strapped for cash at the moment so I will not be able to go on a holiday.


strike gold

- to find or do something that makes you rich

The company was able to strike gold with their new product.


strike it rich

- to suddenly become rich or successful

My grandfather struck it rich when he was young but when he died he had no money.


take a beating

- to lose much money

My friend took a beating on the stock market and has now stopped buying stocks.


take the money and run

- to accept what is offered to you before the offer is gone

I plan to take the money and run as I do not believe that I will get any more money for the settlement of my car accident.


take up a collection

- to collect money for something

We plan to take up a collection for the wife of the dead manager.


throw good money after bad

- to waste additional money after already wasting money on the same thing

I do not want to throw good money after bad so I will not pay any more money to fix my car.


throw money around

- to spend a lot of money without worrying if you are wasting it

The government is throwing much money around as they prepare for the large exhibition.


throw money at (something)

- to spend a lot of money for a project or something without thinking about how the money should be spent

The city plans to throw a lot of money at the project to fix the stadium roof.


tidy sum of money

- a rather large amount of money

I was able to get a tidy sum of money from the sale of my business.


tighten one`s belt

- to live on less money than usual

We decided to tighten our belt and try to save up some money for a holiday.


tightfisted (with money)

- to be very stingy with money

My uncle is very tightfisted with money and does not want to spend any at all.


time is money

- time is valuable so do not waste it

Time is money and I do not want to waste time talking to our supervisor because she always wants to argue with me.


turn on a dime

- to turn in a very tight turn, to change directions or circumstances in a short time

The small car is very flexible and is able to turn on a dime.


two bits

- twenty-five cents, a quarter of a dollar

The newspaper cost two bits a copy.


two cents (worth)

- one's comments or opinion

I gave my two cents worth when my supervisor asked me for my opinion.


up the ante

- to increase your demands or the amount that you spend for something (the ante is the amount of money each player puts on the table before starting a game of cards or poker)

The company upped the ante in their bid to buy the other company.


(not) worth a cent/dime/a red cent/a plugged nickel/two cents

- to be not worth anything, to be not of any value

The antique desk is not worth a dime although everybody thinks it is very valuable.


worth its weight in gold

- to be very valuable

The new secretary is very smart and she is worth her weight in gold.


worth one`s salt

- to be worth what one is paid

Our secretary is worth her salt and is a great asset to our company.


Category: Idioms | Added by: Teacher_Koce (2014-05-27)
Views: 842 | Tags: english for bulgarians, уроци по английски език онлайн, money idioms, english online lessons
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