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riding the gravy train


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) loosing money slowly

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b) working for little effort

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riding the gravy train’ means having an occupation or another source of income that requires little effort whilst yielding considerable profit.

French translation

avoir une bonne planque

How NOT to translate : *prendre le train de sauce

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Examples in context

‘All aboard the gravy train : BBC staff splash £1million of fee-payers money on 13,000 first class rail tickets in just three years

BBC bosses racked up a bill of £1million of fee-payers’ money on 13,000 first class rail tickets in just three years, it has been claimed. New figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request revealed annual spending by the Corporation soared by £76,000 between 2011 and 2014. It came in the same period that BBC shows, including Breakfast and Match of the Day, were moved to new studios in Salford with many staff members commuting between Manchester and London.’

The Daily Mail, 8th February 2015

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’You eat what you kill : Wall Street bonuses keep soaring as profits decline

The biggest question of all is whether Wall Street’s investors are going to sit idly by as a greater percentage of profits that belong to them flow out the doors to the banks’ employees, who are taking just as much risk as they ever did, but not producing as much for that bottom line.

Until now, they have been oddly passive on the compensation question, but at some point, the banks won’t be able to cost-cut their way to profitability any more, or risk-taking will backfire, as it did in the London Whale debacle at JP Morgan Chase. When that happens, maybe the bonus gravy train will finally stop running.’

The Guardian, 15th March 2015

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Everyday usage

When the Congressman got elected to the Senate, he knew he was riding the gravy train.

Jonathan thought he could do the bare minimum in his job, and still ride the gravy train, receiving a large bonus every year. He was proved wrong.

c) taking a long journey

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