Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The majority; a large or generous portion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. all, or nearly all; the best or largest part; -- from Æsop's fable of the lion hunting in company with certain smaller beasts, and appropriating to himself all the prey.

Etymologies

From the Aesop's fable The Lion's Share, in which a lion claims the full amount of the spoil after hunting with a number of other beasts. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Wjat little money he had was invested along with that of the firm; and all was invested in such a way as to wring from its producers the lion's share of Georgia's one great crop.

    A Charleston Love Story; or, Hortense Vanross

  • He has settled with me; his half-profits amount to some L130, which by charging me for every presentation copy he cuts down to somewhere about L110; not the lion's share in the gross produce, yet a great share compared with an expectancy no higher than zero!

    The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Vol. I

  • H.S., etc., and he was on the staff of that versatile editor not long afterwards, and took a lion's share of the writing in the Magazine of Architecture.

    The Life of John Ruskin

Comments

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  • The Lion went once a-hunting along with the Fox, the Jackal, and the Wolf. They hunted and they hunted 'til at last they surprised a Stag, and soon took its life. Then came the question how the spoil should be divided. "Quarter me this Stag," roared the Lion; so the other animals skinned it and cut it into four parts. Then the Lion took his stand in front of the carcass and pronounced judgement: The first quarter is for me in my capacity as King of Beasts; the second is mine as arbiter; another share comes to me for my part in the chase; and as for the fourth quarter, well, as for that, I should like to see which of you will dare to lay a paw upon it."

    "Humph," grumbled the Fox as he walked away with his tail between his legs; but he spoke in a low growl. "You may share the labours of the great, but you will not share the spoil."

    Here

    May 21, 2008

  • The Lion and the Fox

    A FOX entered into partnership with a Lion on the pretense of becoming his servant. Each undertook his proper duty in accordance with his own nature and powers. The Fox discovered and pointed out the prey; the Lion sprang on it and seized it. The Fox soon became jealous of the Lion carrying off the Lion’s share, and said that he would no longer find out the prey, but would capture it on his own account. The next day he attempted to snatch a lamb from the fold, but he himself fell prey to the huntsmen and hounds.

    (Translated by George Fyler Townsend. Rendered into HTML on Wed Jun 10 17:25:21 1998, by Steve Thomas for The University of Adelaide Library Electronic Texts Collection.)

    And from the same source:

    The Wild Ass and the Lion

    A WILD ASS and a Lion entered into an alliance so that they might capture the beasts of the forest with greater ease. The Lion agreed to assist the Wild Ass with his strength, while the Wild Ass gave the Lion the benefit of his greater speed. When they had taken as many beasts as their necessities required, the Lion undertook to distribute the prey, and for this purpose divided it into three shares. “I will take the first share,�? he said, “because I am King: and the second share, as a partner with you in the chase: and the third share (believe me) will be a source of great evil to you, unless you willingly resign it to me, and set off as fast as you can.�?

    Might makes right.

    May 21, 2008

  • Ah, but as John Chiardi once reminded NPR listeners some years ago, in Aesop the lion demanded a third for himself, a third for his lioness and cubs, and said the others could have the final third if they could take it from him. (Or something like that. My math may be off.)

    Other versions I've read have the lion slaughtering companions that protest such a division and adding their carcasses to the pile -- his pile, the lion's share. That is to say, all of it.

    Not that anyone would understand you if you used it to mean "everything" anymore, sadly.

    May 21, 2008

  • The biggest or best part of something.

    May 21, 2008