from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Earth, ore, or gravel that is profitable to mine.
  • n. Informal A useful or profitable discovery or venture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Earth which contains profitable quantities of ore.
  • n. A profitable area or period; success.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. earth which yields a profit to the miner.
  • Earth, rock, etc., which yields a profit to the miner.
  • a discovery, especially after an exploratory process, which yields a profit or sought-after benefit; -- used especially in the phrase “to hit pay dirt”.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a profitable success
  • n. ore that yields a substantial profit to the miner


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • After three irate hang-ups, she struck pay dirt on the fourth call.

    Slice Of Cherry

  • She struck pay dirt one night, finding Forever Amber, and reading it in Saturday-night installments, always careful to slide it back into the closed china closet when she heard the Evanses’ car come up the driveway.

    The Women’s Room


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