What Does To Cash In On Something Mean?

Cash in on Something Meaning

Definition: To get money or gain an advantage from a situation.

This expression sometimes implies that it is unfair or immoral to benefit from the situation.

Origin of Cash in on Something

Dictionaries identify the late 1500s or early 1600s as the origin for cash in. It likely comes from the Old French word casse, which means cash.

Examples of Cash in on Something

Define cash in on Here is an example of a math professor and her student using the expression.

Student: I think I’ve been working really hard.

Teacher: I would agree with that.

Student: I also think I’ve built up some goodwill with you.

Teacher: Okay, and why are you bringing this up?

Student: I’d like to cash in on that goodwill and get an extension on this homework assignment.

Teacher: I don’t know about that.

Student: Please! I’ve never asked before, and I wouldn’t ask now if it weren’t an emergency.

Teacher: Okay, fine. Just this once.

meaning of cash in on somethingIn this example, two friends are discussing a man who has a crush on one of them.

Monica: Bobby won’t leave me alone.

Janice: Well, you know he likes you a lot. I guess he heard that you broke up with your boyfriend, and he thinks you might be interested in dating him.

Monica: He does think that, but he shouldn’t. I’ve already let him know, kindly, that I’m just not interested.

Janice: So, why won’t he leave you alone?

Monica: It’s like he thinks he can cash in on our friendship. He thinks that because he was nice to me while I was dating Johnny, I’ll date him.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a woman who wants to get money after a famous singer died.

  • A woman claims she married Prince before his death and is now hoping to cash in on his multi-million dollar estate. –New York Daily News

The second example is the title of an article. Renters are upset because their landlord wants to end their lease and give it to people who will pay more.

  • Brooklyn residents accuse their Sunset Park landlord of trying to kick them out to cash in on gentrifiers –New York Daily News

Grammar and Usage

Cash in on is a phrasal verb. It is inseparable, which means that you can cash in on something, but you can’t cash something in on if you want the phrase to have the same meaning.

Correct: He cashed in on his relationship with the king.

Incorrect: He cashed his relationship with the king in on.

Incorrect: He cashed in his relationship with the king on.

Also, this phrase works in a variety of tenses. For example,

  • He cashed in on.
  • He is cashing in on.
  • He should cash in on.
  • He will cash in on.


To cash in on something means to exploit a situation for monetary gain.