The English We Speak

Bleed someone dry

Summary

Feifei is worried that Neil’s plumber has attacked him. He’s certainly bled him dry, but why is there no need to go to hospital? Listen to this programme and all will become clear. You’ll also learn the meaning of another strange English phrase.

Transcript

Feifei
Hello. I’m Feifei and this is The English We Speak. 

Neil
And I’m… ouch… Neil. 

Feifei
Oh, Neil, are you in pain? 

Neil
Yeah. I cut my hand yesterday. Blood everywhere. Look at this cut! 

Feifei
Yuk! That’s horrible. So tell me how it happened. 

Neil
Well, my shower has been leaking for ages. I’m not good at fixing things so I got this plumber in to fix it. I found his details on the internet – D. Odgy Plumbers – “Got a leak? We’ll make you pay for it.” 

Feifei
Hmm. That doesn’t sound like a very reputable plumber. 

Neil
Well, he wasn’t. He bled me dry! 

Feifei
What? You mean he attacked you and that’s how you cut your hand. Oh, Neil, you need to tell the police. 

Neil
Don’t panic, Feifei. He didn’t touch me, but what he did do was a very bad job, he made lots of mess and then charged me lots of money for doing it – he basically charged me a whole month’s salary – that’s what I mean by ‘bleeding me dry’. 

Feifei
So you gave him the money – he didn’t steal it? 

Neil
Yeah – not exactly, but somehow he managed to extract all my money from me. Let’s hear some examples, shall we? 

Examples
My old car keeps breaking down. It’s bleeding me dry! 

John is taking legal action against the company. He wants to bleed them dry for all the pain he has suffered. 

This divorce has bled me dry – I can’t even afford to go on holiday now.

Feifei
This is The English We Speak from the BBC and we’re finding out about the phrase ‘to bleed someone dry’, meaning to extract or drain all of someone’s money. But Neil, why did you pay the plumber if he did such a bad job? 

Neil
Well, he was a big guy and… well, I don’t like to complain or make a fuss. 

Feifei
Oh, how very English! But how did you cut your hand? 

Neil
After he left, I tried to use the shower but I slipped over because of all the water. 

Feifei
Oh, poor you. Shall we go for lunch and take your mind off things? 

Neil
Sorry, Feifei. I can’t afford it – the plumber bled me dry, remember! 

Feifei
My treat!

Neil
Oh, come on. Let’s go. See ya. 

Feifei
Bye.