That's Rich!: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 13, 2023

The slang phrase "That's rich" is used to point out that something is funny but in an ironic or hypocritical way. When you say, "That's rich," you're usually calling attention to someone's statement that you find absurd or contradictory based on the speaker's actions or past statements. It's a way to express disbelief or skepticism but with a touch of humor or sarcasm.

In short:

  • It is used to highlight irony or hypocrisy in what someone else is saying.
  • It's a way to say you find something absurd or hard to believe, often with a sarcastic tone.

What Does "That's Rich" Mean?

The phrase is used when you find someone's statement or action hypocritical or ironic. If someone says something that contradicts their own behavior or statements, you might respond with "that's rich" to call out the inconsistency. This expression often carries a sarcastic tone and is used more for humorous or dramatic effect.

Let's dive into its core meanings and usage:

  • It is used to point out when something is ironic or contradictory.
  • You can use this phrase to call attention to someone's hypocrisy or lack of self-awareness.
  • The phrase often comes with a snarky tone, making it clear you don't take the other person's statement seriously.
  • It's often used in arguments or debates but can also be used in casual conversations for comedic effect.
  • Similar phrases include "You've got to be kidding," "Seriously?" and "Come on.

Where Does "That's Rich" Come From?

The etymology of the word "rich" traces back to Old English "rīce," which is akin to Old High German "rīhhi," both meaning powerful, wealthy, or of high rank. In this context, the term "rich" doesn't refer to wealth but rather to something abundant, excessive, or ludicrous. The origin of the phrase is not definitively documented, but it likely stems from the idea that something "rich" is abundant. The phrase has been part of colloquial English for quite some time and is widely understood to convey a sense of irony or disbelief.

10 Examples of "That's Rich" in Sentences

To make it easier to understand when to use this slang phrase, here are some examples from various situations:

  • That's rich! You logged in to the team meeting just to turn off your camera and mic.
  • She claimed to hate drama but was always in the middle of it. Well, that's rich!
  • He criticized her for spending too much money buying a new sports car. That's rich!
  • Double down on a losing bet? That's rich coming from someone who advises financial caution.
  • She tells everyone to be environmentally conscious but leaves all her lights on at home. That's rich.
  • That's rich, using the same marketing slogan that's been done to death in the industry.
  • You bunk class regularly and then complain about low grades? That's rich.
  • He advised us to be careful with our spending while showing off his new Rolex. That's rich.
  • She warned us about the dangers of social media but couldn't put her phone down. That's rich.
  • So you are the hardest worker here? Surely, you jest! That's rich, considering your frequent tardiness.

Examples of "That's Rich" in Pop Culture

The phrase pops up often in movies, shows, and even in daily conversations for its dramatic and often humorous impact.

Let's check out some cases:

  • How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir by Richard Herring: "That's rich coming from you. Do you remember the stuff you were saying in the pub?"
  • The Post-War Dream by Mitch Cullin: "'That 's rich,' Schubert would say, nervously looking at his feet, grinning uncomfortably as if he assumed everyone else was staring at him."
  • October Breezes, Volume 1 by Maria Rachel Hooley: "That's rich, Skye. But even if it is the truth, it doesn't matter. For as long as we've known each other, there hasn't been a thing I wouldn't do for you."
  • Supergirl (2015-2021) The Bottle Episode: "Okay, that's rich. Guess what, I'm taking you into the DEO for questioning."
  • Beerfest (2006 Comedy): "Oh that's rich! I've got a cowboy on one side and an Indian on the other! It's like the wild west!"

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "That's Rich"

The English language is full of expressions that can express the same or similar meaning to "that's rich."

Here are some of them:

  • You're kidding
  • You can't be serious
  • Give me a break
  • That's a laugh
  • Oh, come on
  • You've got to be joking
  • Are you for real?
  • What a joke
  • No way
  • Get out of here

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "That's Rich":

  • What does "that's rich" mean?

"That's rich" is an expression used to highlight irony or hypocrisy. It's often said when someone makes a statement that contradicts their own actions or beliefs.

  • How can I use "that's rich" in a sentence?

You can use it as a standalone phrase or within a sentence to point out irony or hypocrisy. For example: “You're telling me to save money? That's rich!”

  • Is the phrase "that's rich" sarcastic?

Yes, "that's rich" is usually used in a sarcastic tone to call out inconsistencies or contradictions.

  • Can I use it in a serious conversation?

While the phrase is often used humorously or sarcastically, it can be used in serious conversations to underscore a point about irony or hypocrisy.

  • Where did the phrase originate?

The phrase "that's rich" likely comes from the idea that a statement is "rich" in irony, although its exact origins are not clear.

  • Is it offensive to say "that's rich"?

It can be seen as confrontational or dismissive, depending on the context and how it's said. Use it carefully.

  • Does the phrase have any literal meaning?

While "rich" usually refers to wealth, in this context, it doesn't have a literal meaning related to affluence. Instead, it pertains to the richness of irony or hypocrisy in a statement.

  • Is the phrase used globally?

"That's rich" is mainly a phrase used in English-speaking countries, and it might not be easily understood in non-English speaking regions.

  • Can it be used in written form?

Yes, it can be used in writing, though it's more commonly heard in speech. In writing, context is crucial to make sure the irony is clear.

  • Are there similar phrases?

Yes, phrases like "the pot calling the kettle black" or "look who's talking" carry a similar meaning of pointing out hypocrisy or irony.

Final Thoughts About "That's Rich"

The phrase "that's rich" points out irony or hypocrisy in what someone else is saying. While often sarcastic or humorous, the phrase can also fit into more serious conversations. Knowing when to use "that's rich" can add depth to your communication, allowing you to quickly highlight inconsistencies without having to spell them out.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase usually points out irony or hypocrisy in someone's statement.
  • It can be confrontational or dismissive, so be cautious about when and how you use it.
  • It doesn't have a literal meaning connected to wealth but refers to the "richness" of irony in the statement being criticized.
  • The phrase is mostly used in English-speaking countries, so it may not be understood globally.

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