Have you ever heard the expression “foot the bill”?
It is a pretty common phrase that you will hear in the UK from time to time so it is a good idea to learn what it means. In this episode, you will learn what it means, how it is used and even where it comes from.

Foot the bill – Explained

What does “foot the bill” mean?

This idiom means that someone chooses to pay for something, usually for other people’s benefit.

How is “foot the bill” used?

Here are some examples:

  • I crashed into a BMW the other day and my insurance isn’t going to cover it so I’ll have to foot the bill for the whole thing.

  • My brother got married in Disney Land and his wife’s father footed the bill for the whole wedding.

  • When people come to visit me in Japan, we go out for a nice meal and I usually end up footing the bill.

Where does “foot the bill” come from?

This idiom comes a phrase in the 1500’s: foot up – which meant to calculate the total amount of the numbers listed on a sheet at the bottom of the page. Since the 1800s the modern phrase “to foot the bill” has been commonly used to refer to paying money for something.


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