Recoup Expenses: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
June 16, 2023

The idiom "recoup expenses" plays a vital role in everyday business and financial terminology. It primarily refers to the recovery of money that was spent or invested.

In short:

"Recoup expenses" implies the action of getting back the money that was spent or invested.

What Does "Recoup Expenses" Mean?

The idiom"recoup expenses" signifies the process of recovering or regaining funds that have been spent on something. The idiom is predominantly utilized in scenarios that revolve around finance and commerce. 

Let's dive deeper into its meaning:

  • Recouping expenses can materialize in various manners, like generating profits from a business initiative, receiving reimbursements, or economizing.
  • The phrase could also be extended beyond financial scenarios, signifying the retrieval of time, energy, or other resources invested.

Expressions that carry a similar implication include "recover costs," "retrieve investment," or "reclaim expenditure." These phrases can interchange based on the context and situation at hand.

Where Do "Recoup Expenses" Come From?

The idiom "recoup expenses" originates from the French verb "recouper," meaning "to cut back" or "to recover." The term was borrowed into English in the 17th century and initially held a legal connotation, referring to a defendant's right to cut back or withhold specific amounts from the plaintiff. Over time, the term broadened in usage and came to represent the general act of recovering or regaining, especially with reference to money or costs.

Historical Usage

"He might 'recoup' himself, he explained, by the exercise of his talents in another direction."

-Charles Dickens's "Bleak House" (1853)

10 Examples of "Recoup Expenses" in Sentences

Let's look at some examples to understand the use of this idiom better:

  • John is trying to recoup his expenses by selling the old furniture he refurbished.
  • The company hopes to recoup its expenses from the new product line within a year.
  • After several unexpected setbacks, the entrepreneur found herself in a pickle, struggling to recoup expenses and keep her business afloat.
  • They rented out their basement suite to recoup some of the mortgage expenses.
  • After successfully completing the project, we were able to recoup our expenses and stay in touch with the client for future collaborations.
  • I need to work overtime to recoup the expenses I made on my car's repair.
  • After successfully launching their new product, the company was able to recoup their expenses and confidently declared, Onward and upward!
  • Non-profit organizations often rely on donations and grants to recoup their operational expenses.
  • After investing significant money in marketing, we need to work hard to recoup expenses, but I feel you; it's a challenging task.
  • We managed to recoup our expenses by selling the extra inventory.

Examples of "Recoup Expenses" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of this idiom being used in popular culture:

  • In the movie "The Social Network," Eduardo Saverin hopes to recoup his expenses by advertising on Facebook.
  • In "Breaking Bad," Walter White starts manufacturing drugs to recoup his medical expenses.
  • In the TV show "Shark Tank," entrepreneurs often discuss how they plan to recoup their expenses and make a profit.
  • The song "Price Tag" by Jessie J talks metaphorically about the struggle to recoup expenses in life.
  • In the movie "Joy," the title character invents a new mop to recoup her expenses and achieve financial independence.
  • In "Game of Thrones," Littlefinger's manipulative strategies often involve schemes to recoup his expenses.
  • In the sitcom "The Office," Michael Scott often dreams of making it big to recoup his expenses.
  • In "Wolf of Wall Street," Jordan Belfort builds a stock empire to recoup his expenses and amass wealth.

Other Ways to Say "Recoup Expenses"

Here are different ways of expressing the same sentiment:

  • The company plans to retrieve its outlay by raising the prices of its products.
  • He's selling his old comic books to get back his investment.
  • They plan to recover their costs by implementing energy-saving measures.
  • She managed to reimburse her expenses through a successful garage sale.
  • We need to earn back the money we spent on the renovation.
  • The team aims to reclaim its expenditure through sponsorship deals.
  • The artist hopes to recapture production costs by selling prints of his work.
  • We should be able to offset our expenses by reducing wastage.
  • The school intends to recover the costs through fundraising events.
  • I can redeem my expenditure by renting out the extra room.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Recoup Expenses"

Here are some common questions people often have about this idiom:

  • What is the origin of the idiom "recoup expenses"?

The term is derived from the French word 'recouper,' which means "to cut back" or "recover." It has been used in English since the mid-19th century, primarily in the context of finance and business.

  • Can "recoup expenses" be used in non-monetary contexts?

Yes, the idiom can also refer to the recovery of resources, time, or energy spent.

  • Are there other expressions similar to "recoup expenses"?

Yes, related expressions include "recover costs," "get back the investment," and "retrieve expenses."

  • What does it mean to recoup losses?

Recouping losses means recovering the money lost in a bad investment or transaction.

  • Is "recoup expenses" a formal expression?

While it's often used in formal contexts, it's acceptable in casual conversation as well.

  • Can "recoup expenses" refer to saving money?

Yes, it can be used in scenarios where costs are saved, offset, or reduced, effectively "recouping" them.

  • How do companies often recoup their expenses?

Companies recoup expenses through various methods such as making profits, cost-saving measures, reimbursements, and more.<

  • Can individuals recoup expenses?

Yes, individuals can recoup expenses through reimbursements, selling items, or saving on costs.

  • Can the idiom be used in the past tense?

Yes, "recouped expenses" can be used when referring to the past.

  • What does it mean to fail to recoup expenses?

Failing to recoup expenses means not being able to recover the money spent or invested.

Final Thoughts About "Recoup Expenses"

"Recoup expenses" is an integral idiom in English, especially in the financial and business world. It is a versatile phrase that can be used in various contexts and situations.

Here's a quick summary:

  • It primarily refers to the recovery of money spent or invested.
  • The idiom is derived from the French word 'recouper,' meaning to cut back or recover.
  • It can be used metaphorically to refer to recovering time, energy, or resources spent.

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