pay dirt

Gravel or earth that contains valuable minerals is called pay dirt. If you're panning for gold in a rocky stream and suddenly realize your pan is full of gold, you've found pay dirt.

This North American term pay dirt dates from the 1950s, during the California Gold Rush. When miners found an area rich with gold ore, they would say they'd hit pay dirt. Today, you're more likely to use this term informally to mean "reward, profit, or success." If you win a fancy new TV in a raffle at your school, you might exclaim, "I totally hit pay dirt!"

Definitions of pay dirt

n ore that yields a substantial profit to the miner

Type of:
a mineral that contains metal that is valuable enough to be mined

n a profitable success

“the inventor worked for years before hitting pay dirt
Type of:
a state of prosperity or fame

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