Did someone say to you, ‘thanks a ton’? What exactly does that mean, and where did the phrase come from? If you wanted to use it in your own writing and speech, what is the proper way to use it in a sentence?
‘Thanks a ton’ is an informal way to express your gratitude to another person for something. Essentially, this is a way to say “thank you” emphatically. In another context, ‘thanks a ton’ can be used sarcastically.
The phrase ‘thanks a ton’ is a casual way to express that you are grateful to someone else for something.
However, if it is said with a sarcastic tone, it can be a way of conveying that someone is displeased with something that someone said or did.
Note: Sarcasm is defined as “the use of irony to convey contempt or mock.”
The word ‘thanks’ is a noun defined as “an expression of gratitude.” It is another way of saying ‘thank you.’
‘Ton’ is a word that has several meanings. The relevant definition in terms of ‘thanks a ton’ is “a large number or amount.”
So when you put ‘thanks’ and ‘a ton’ together, you’re basically saying, “I have a large amount of gratitude towards you.”
In the nonsarcastic meaning of the phrase, ‘thanks a ton’ is simply an informal way of thanking someone or expressing your gratitude. If your neighbor drops off a package that was misdelivered to their home, for example, you might say ‘thanks a ton!’
When it comes to the sarcastic meaning, someone might say ‘thanks a ton’ when something has inconvenienced them or otherwise displeased them. For instance, let’s say that you bring your coworker a giant stack of files that need to be gone through. They might sarcastically say, ‘gee, thanks a ton.’
The word ‘thank’ is an old word that dates back to the mid-thirteenth century. ‘Ton” has meant a “measure of weight” since the late fourteenth century. Initially, it referred to the quantity needed to fill a cask of wine.
The phrase ‘thanks a ton,’ though, isn’t nearly as old. While it’s difficult to determine when it precisely became a popularly used utterance, we can use the Google Books Ngram Viewer to help us understand when it entered common usage.
Interestingly, we see that the phrase ‘thanks a ton’ doesn’t even make a blip on the Ngram graph until 1969 and starts steadily climbing in appearance around 1975.
You now understand the meaning and origin of ‘thanks a ton,’ but how would you use it in a sentence? Let’s look at some examples, first of the phrase being used sincerely.
Now, let’s look at some examples of the phrase being used sarcastically.
There are many other ways to convey the same idea as ‘thanks a ton.’ Here are some examples:
Are you eager to continue expanding your knowledge of English phrases? Be sure to check out the rest of our idioms blog!