I came across this line in one of the personal finance book I'm reading currently and wondering what "not about betting the kitchen sink on a hot tip" mean in this context.

Getting an equity exposure is about following the rules of holding a portfolio that gives you index-plus returns and not about betting the kitchen sink on a hot tip. If you do that, don't cry later.
Source: Let's Talk Money: You've Worked Hard for It, Now Make It Work for You - Monika Halan, 2018

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    It's a hopelessly mixed metaphor. A risky high-stakes gamble is idiomatically referred to as betting the farm (if you lose that, you lose everything). But []throwing everything but the kitchen sink [at a problem] is an unrelated metaphoric usage meaning to use / take every last thing you could possibly need (to mount an attack, do a job, go on holiday, etc.). Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 15:32
  • Apparently, the OP is a non-native speaker. The sentences seem to be taken from some Asian-country newspaper (India, I suppose.) I don't think these idioms (kitchen sink, at any rate) would be instantly recognizable to a non-native.
    – user126190
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 16:34
  • There is not a mixed metaphor here: To bet the kitchen sink on [somethingt], here, a hot tip. It does pass the sniff test. bet the kitchen sink on is American slang and probably not in ngrams. sportsbetting.legal/news/…’t bet the kitchen sink on March Madness, warns AGA
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:43
  • The link in the question goes to a book by an Indian author, which supports the supposition that the readership might also be from the same region. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:47

3 Answers 3


The intended meaning is simply that successful investing involves following a set of rules / guidelines, not rashly gambling money you can't afford to lose on the advice of a "tipster" (someone who claims to know which horse will win a race, or which financial product will produce the biggest return on investment).

The normal idiomatic reference to gambling money you can't afford to lose is betting the farm (Ngrams not found: bet the kitchen sink). But this has got mixed up with [throwing] everything but the kitchen sink [at a problem].

Here's a usage chart showing that both idiomatic usages are about equally common. They wouldn't normally be merged together as in OP's example.

enter image description here

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    "Everything but the kitchen sink" is of course also used in other contexts (packing for holiday, or the contents of some desirable purchase). But the metaphor of throwing all those things at a problem is a close relation to throwing lots of money at an investment, so I think you're really on the mark here. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 16:07
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    I don't think the two idiomatic usages are at all close. Betting the farm / ranch clearly refers to the most valuable thing you have (or perhaps the second most valuable thing, after you bet your life). But everything but the kitchen sink doesn't necessarily even have strong allusions to "money, value" - it just means everything you could possibly imagine (whimsically, betting with Monopoly money, or your as-yet-unborn daughter's hand in marriage, for example! :) Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 16:14
  • I would not expect to find bet the kitchen sink on in ngrams. google: 52,900 hits "bet the kitchen sink" on [x].
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:45
  • @Lambie: Your point being? As pointed out, the two idiomatic usages are not interchangeable when used with their established meanings. I've no idea what proportion of your claimed 52,900 instances are deliberate facetious usages (as opposed to ignorant mixed metaphors). But even counting both types, they're small beer compared to the established usages as may be found in dictionaries. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:53
  • @FumbleFingers I see no mixed metaphor at all. I see: bet on the kitchen sink, one expression and another: a hot tip. It is used in the States. Bet the farm on is much older. You claim it is a mixed metaphor and I don't think it is. It has achieved its own status. They are not claimed instances. Google them and go down the page. They do work in the pages where they appear.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 18:16

Notwithstanding the touch of flourish there's to it, this sentence (a caveat, essentially) is very well-put. What the "troubling" sentence means is that it warns against any injudicious investment. This should be clear after a little unpacking.

According to Merriam-Webster:

hot tip

a valuable piece of information about something (such as the stock market or a horse race) that can help someone get money or an advantage


To bet the kitchen sink/To throw the kitchen sink at something means to try everything you can in order to do something or to solve a problem.

The admonitory tone of the sentence should be clear from the very last sentence.

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    "very well-put"?! I think it's astonishingly badly phrased! I guess a native speaker might put the indefinite article before equity exposure here, but that certainly stands out as "odd" to me, as well as the clumsy mixed metaphor. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 15:34
  • @FumbleFingers A difference of opinion in such matters always makes me ask who decides that? While I defer to your superior knowledge, I find the sentence to be well-put. At any rate—I'm sure some would concede— it isn't appallingly bad like you say it's. :)
    – user126190
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 15:37
  • I can almost imagine a financial advisor or similar talking about giving a client an equity exposure. But if that's the case, I think it would be a peculiar domain-specific usage. And although in some cases the mixing of metaphors might be witty wordplay, in this case I think it's just a clumsy "accident". Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 15:44
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    @FumbleFingers The idea, I take it, of 'kitchen sink' is that it is the most vital possession we have (not nowadays, when we take it for granted, of course. It represents the key asset in the running of a household, involving the cleanliness of what we eat and wear, and so the very last thing we should put at risk. Rising standards of living (at least in developed anglophone countries) have made that less obvious.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 19:49
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    @FumbleFingers: Perhaps. The expression with which I am more familiar is "I've thrown everything but the kitchen sink at it." Why the kitchen sink rather than the chairs, sofa or television set I cannot say. But I do suspect that sinks were the first non-movable household appliance to be almost universally available in houses, with the arrival of running water in the early 20th century, and much sooner than that for the more affluent parts of the community. But I admit that the original suggestion was a wild guess.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 14:55

A "hot tip" is a recommendation (tip) that sounds strong (hot).

To "bet the farm" is an idiom meaning to take an unaffordable risk.

"Everything but the kitchen sink" is an idiom for everything imaginable. By extension, the kitchen sink itself is more than that, and that's what's been substituted into "bet the farm".

Putting this together, the advice is clear: don't risk your entire wealth on a single recommendation.

  • I don't think everything but the kitchen sink particularly implies "every moveable possession one owns". Kitchen sinks aren't exactly "moveable" anyway, but more importantly I don't think throwing everything but the kitchen sink at a problem (the most common context) particularly implies committing one's possessions to the task. It's more about including everything one might normally think of plus even more things that wouldn't normally be included. Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog aren't "valuable possessions" but you might say they're "EBTKS" Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 16:22
  • Indeed, I've always understood the non-moveability of the sink to be the reason it's excluded in the stock phrase. I only have SOED, which doesn't give specific origins (only to the headword kitchen), but its definition is "everything imaginable", so I'll substitute that in. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:02
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    The full (subscription-only) Oxford English Dictionary also defines it as everything imaginable. But until I just looked it up myself, I wasn't aware that the original was everything but the kitchen stove (first recorded 1897). The ...sink version wasn't recorded until 1918. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:12
  • ...I just thought I'd look for the next-most-common alternative to the kitchen sink/stove in this context, so I searched Google Books for all texts containing "threw everything but" AND "at the problem", BUT NOT "but the kitchen". Turns out the only match where the text can actually be read is As one who threw everything but the technological equivalent of the kitchen sink at the problem I was surprised at how little was really new. This particular idiomatic apple obviously doesn't fall far from the figurative tree of the original usage! :) Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 17:20

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