Understanding the Idiom: "rolling in it" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English
  • See Thesaurus:wealthy

In today’s world, idioms are an integral part of language. They add color and depth to our conversations, making them more interesting and engaging. One such idiom that has gained popularity over time is “rolling in it”. This phrase is often used to describe someone who is wealthy or has a lot of money.

The Origin of the Idiom

The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the early 1900s when people used to carry their money in rolls instead of wallets. Those who had a lot of money would have large rolls, which made them appear as if they were “rolling” in their wealth.

Usage and Meaning

Today, the idiom “rolling in it” is commonly used to describe individuals or businesses that are financially successful. It can also be used sarcastically or humorously to refer to someone who may not actually have a lot of money but acts like they do.

Understanding the meaning behind idioms such as “rolling in it” can help us communicate more effectively with others and appreciate the richness and diversity of language. So next time you hear someone say they’re “rolling in it”, you’ll know exactly what they mean!

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “rolling in it”

The idiom “rolling in it” is a colloquial expression used to describe someone who is extremely wealthy or has an abundance of money. This phrase has been used for decades, and its origins can be traced back to early 20th-century America.

During this time, the economy was booming, and many people were experiencing newfound wealth and prosperity. The term “rolling in it” became popularized as a way to describe those who had become rich through business ventures, investments, or other means.

As the years went on, the phrase continued to be used in various contexts. It was often associated with Hollywood celebrities and other famous individuals who had amassed great fortunes.

Today, “rolling in it” remains a common expression that is used both seriously and humorously. While its origins may have been rooted in American history, its usage has spread throughout the English-speaking world and continues to evolve with each passing year.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “rolling in it”

When we say someone is “rolling in it,” we mean that they are incredibly wealthy. This idiom has been around for quite some time and is used across different English-speaking countries. However, like most idioms, there are variations to its usage depending on the context or situation.

Variations in Meaning

While “rolling in it” typically means being rich, there are times when it can also refer to having an abundance of something else. For example, if a person has a lot of free time or is receiving plenty of attention from others, they may be said to be “rolling in it.” In this sense, the idiom takes on a more positive connotation.

Variations Across Countries

Although the basic meaning remains the same across different English-speaking countries, there are variations to how people use this idiom. In America, for instance, people might say someone is “rolling in dough” instead of just saying they’re “rolling in it.” In Australia and New Zealand, people might use phrases like “swimming in cash” or “drowning in money.”

  • In America: Rolling in dough
  • In Australia/New Zealand: Swimming/drowning in money/cash
  • In Britain: Rolling/loaded with money

It’s interesting to note these subtle differences as they add color and personality to each country’s unique way of speaking English.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “rolling in it”


There are several synonyms for the idiom “rolling in it” that convey a similar meaning. Some examples include:

  • Loaded
  • Rich as Croesus
  • Flush with cash
  • Wealthy beyond measure
  • Living like a king/queen


On the other hand, there are also antonyms that describe someone who is not wealthy or struggling financially. These include:

  • Broke as a joke
  • Penniless/poor as dirt
  • Living paycheck to paycheck/lii

  • In debt/up to one’s ears in debt/lii
  • Scraping by/surviving on a shoestring budget/lii
Cultural Insights:
The origin of this idiom is uncertain but some believe it comes from gambling where players would roll their winnings into larger bets.

In Western culture, wealth is often associated with success and status while poverty can be stigmatized. However, there are cultures where modesty and humility are valued over material possessions which could affect how this idiom is perceived.

Understanding synonyms and antonyms of idioms such as “rolling in it” can help improve communication and comprehension. Additionally, cultural insights provide context for how idioms are used and understood across different cultures.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “rolling in it”

Exercise 1: Write a short story or dialogue using the idiom “rolling in it”. Try to incorporate the idiom naturally into your writing and make sure that its meaning is clear from context.

Exercise 2: Create a role-play scenario where one person is “rolling in it” and another person is struggling financially. Use the idiom appropriately throughout the conversation.

Exercise 3: Watch a movie or TV show where someone is described as “rolling in it”. Take note of how the characters use this phrase and try to identify different situations where it might be appropriate.

Exercise 4: Practice explaining what the idiom “rolling in it” means to someone who has never heard it before. Try to come up with examples that are relevant and easy to understand.

By practicing these exercises, you’ll become more comfortable using the idiom “rolling in it” in everyday conversations. Remember, idioms can be tricky at first but with practice, they can become an integral part of your English vocabulary!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “rolling in it”

When using idioms, it’s important to understand their meaning and context. The idiom “rolling in it” is often used to describe someone who is very wealthy or has a lot of money. However, there are common mistakes that people make when using this idiom.

One mistake is using the idiom too broadly. It’s important to remember that “rolling in it” specifically refers to having a lot of money, not just being successful or well-off. Another mistake is using the idiom in inappropriate situations, such as when discussing serious financial struggles or poverty.

Another common mistake is assuming that everyone will understand the idiom. While it may be widely known among English speakers, non-native speakers and those unfamiliar with idiomatic expressions may not understand its meaning.

To avoid these mistakes, make sure you fully understand the meaning and context of an idiom before using it. Consider your audience and whether they will be familiar with the expression. And always use idioms appropriately and accurately!

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