Related to earlier hand over hand, this phrase originally referred to a speedy method of climbing up or hauling on a rope.


hand over fist ‎(not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Quickly or in great quantity, especially in reference to earning money.
    He didn't earn much, but the company seemed to rake in money hand over fist.
    • 1880, Robert Louis Stevenson, Letters vol. I, chapter 4
      Are you coming over again to see me some day soon? I keep returning, and now hand over fist, from the realms of Hades: I saw that gentleman between the eyes, and fear him less after each visit.
    • 1888, Rolf Boldrewood, Robbery Under Arms, chapter 39
      Now, since cattle had risen and meat and all to such a price, he was making money hand over fist.