Faustian Bargain Meaning: What Does this Useful Idiom Mean?

The idiomatic phrase “Faustian bargain” may be a phrase you hear or see frequently in everyday conversation and writing. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and a brief explanation of its origin. You will also find some examples of how to properly use this phrase in conversations/statements and find other ways to say the same thing while conveying the same meaning.

Faustian Bargain

Faustian Bargain Meaning

The meaning of the common idiom “Faustian bargain” is to say that you would give up anything in trade for power, knowledge and/or wealth.

Origin of this idiomatic expression

The idiom was derived from a story written in 1587. In the story, a man named Faust made a deal with the Devil. In exchange for his soul, the Devil would grant Faust power and knowledge and, thus, a bargain was struck.

“Faustian Bargain” Examples

Examples in Statements

A statement made in the local paper by a football team’s coach regarding their losing season.

  • “I feel I will need to make a Faustian bargain to win a game this year.”

A statement made by a woman during an interview with a local newspaper.

  • “The jackpot is the highest it has ever been. I would love to win. I just don’t want to have to make a Faustian bargain to do it.”

Examples in Conversation

A conversation between two students regarding the upcoming finals at school.

  • Friend 1: I need to get a good grade on this final or I am not going to pass.
  • Friend 2: You and me both. I need to get a B or better.
  • Friend 1: Maybe we should both make a Faustian bargain so we don’t fail.

A conversation between two female friends regarding one’s husband.

  • Friend 1: I think Bob might be cheating on me.
  • Friend 2: Really? Bob? Do you think he would do that?
  • Friend 1: I don’t know, but he has been coming home late claiming its because of work. I would be willing to make a Faustian bargain to find out.

Helpful examples:

  • In making a pact with this devil, Lancaster County made a Faustian bargain.
  • Even bonuses are back, policy makers have made a Faustian bargain.
  • The town has struck a Faustian bargain, they contend – trading something of its small-town soul for success.

Other Ways to Say “Faustian Bargain”

As is the case with many phrases, there are other ways available to say this phrase and convey the same message. Other ways you can say this phrase include:

  • Make a deal with the devil
  • I’d sell my soul
  • I’d give up everything I have

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