an offer one can't refuse

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Unknown origin. A famous example is found in the film The Godfather (1972).


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an offer one can't refuse

  1. (idiomatic) An offer from one side in a transaction with terms so attractive that the other side is almost guaranteed to accept.
    • 2006 Feb. 5, Michael D. Lemonick, "Are We Losing Our Edge?," Time:
      But in 2001 the government of Singapore made him an offer he couldn't refuse: the directorship of the brand new Genome Institute along with a $25 million starting budget.
  2. (idiomatic) A threatening offer by one party for which the results of failing to accept are so unattractive that the other party is almost compelled to accept.