An Offer He Can’t Refuse

Meaning of “An Offer He Can’t Refuse”

This phrase is “an offer he can’t refuse” means that if an offer is desirable or has a large sum involved, a person cannot refuse. It also means that it may have risks involved with it. The receiver is perhaps being threatened by the giver. Additionally, there might be consequences that could ensue if he or she refuses to take the offer. The use of “can” point to this possibility of the threat attached to such an offer.

Origin of “An Offer He Can’t Refuse”

The full expression “an offer he can’t refuse” has appeared in a film Burn Em Up Barnes released in 1934. A character, Jason Robards uses this expression in the following dialogue: “I’ll maker her an offer she can’t refuse.” However, the meaning in dialogue is different. Here, it is only a temptation and no consequences, which show only generosity with no risk.

The second appearance of this expression is found in the novel, The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. He also scripted a movie on his book which was released in 1972. The phrase appears in the book and the movie. In both cases, the meanings are almost the same in that a threat is attached to the offer.

Examples of “An Offer He Can’t Refuse”

Example #1

An Offer She Can’t Refuse by Reeve Oliver

You have no need to worry
I won’t have you removed
Though our love may get blurry
I’ll be loyal to you
Whatever you want, you wish
Our enemies sleep with the fish
And you have no need to labor
I won’t sever from you
In your debt here’s a favor
All my days just for you
I know what you’d do
You said
And I’d find a horse in my bed
Or just the head
Just hold me close
Tell me you love me
But please don’t ask me what I do
Being with me
It isn’t easy
They’ll try and turn me against you
But it won’t do
If I can survive
Then I will make you mine
An offer she cannot refuse
No sign of gunpoint
This time legitimate

An offer she cannot refuse

The artist Reeve Oliver has sung this beautiful song of the same title. The singer vows that whatever circumstances he may face, he would stay loyal to his beloved. He also adds he is in a confused state of mind and only wants his love for him though he may find a horse in his bed. He is of the view that he is making a legitimate offer that she cannot refuse. By this, the singer is demonstrating the real meanings attached to this phrase. Therefore, he has to repeat it as a “legitimate” offer as he has already stated that there is “No sign of gunpoint.”

Example #2

An Offer He Can’t Refuse by Theresa Ragan

This novel narrates an intriguing tale of a lady, Madison Phillips, who is searching for a husband to inherit millions from her grandfather. Otherwise, her cousin, Heather, will get that inheritance. She, however, finds a millionaire widower, Jackson Lang, who is also looking for a lady to look after his children and not for love. It is very interesting that despite having no love between the two, they convince families and friends that they have an offer for each other that they cannot refuse. The meanings of this phrase used in the title become more evident when they start performing this feat.

Example #3

The Plan from Tgif and Other Short Stories by Richard V. Martin

“Gentlemen, I have found the perfect self-registration. It is clean as whistle. Fifty million shares, 25 years old, no debt, no stock out and the owner is still alive, so we won’t have to go through a shelf or shell specialist. If I can get it that is. On top of all that, he still owns 1000 acres of land in New Mexico. If we get it, we kill two birds with one stone. When gold mining stocks were hot, he spent his full time prospecting the land in the Elk Mountain range south west of Albuquerque. Additionally, I put my old show business halt on and camp up with an original idea in the way we promote this scam. In most cases, the phony companies hire one of those promotional firms to tout the stock. They are too obvious these days. Warning flags go up immediately. I am leaving from here to meet with the old timer and make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

This paragraph has been taken from the short story of Richard Martin ‘The Plan’. The story is about the world of property and its phony business. The main character is facing a recession in the market of property in which he works as a seller. He is trying to convince a young man that they must find an old man for his land. They want to offer him something that he cannot refuse. The use of this phrase by the end of the sentence shows that he is going to attach a tempting offer to the buyer instead of a threat.

Example #4

An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell

This novel tells the story of a girl, Lola, who is given a good offer by the mother of her boyfriend to break the relationship. Meanwhile, she discovers another secret about her friend Dougie. After breaking up, she meets him after ten years and feels that she still loves him. It is interesting to observe that in the past, Lola has already accepted that offer and left him. Now he has come back in her life. The title goes both ways. Lola was given an offer she didn’t refuse and left her friend. However, there was a new offer involved. So, they get back together after a decade.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Nelson was tempted when he heard about new car exchange. He felt it was an offer he can’t refuse but wasn’t sure if he had that kind of money.”

Example #2: “Theo agreed it be a prime witness against the killer. The police offered to protect him, and it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Example #3: “The teacher said if anyone scores an A+ in the test will get a ticket to the latest Disney film. Students are determined to try their best because it is an offer they can’t refuse.”

Example #4: “I shall give you an offer you can’t refuse, or you lose.”

Example #5: “Tom offered two fresh apples it Billy if he painted some part of the fence. For Billy, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. So he agreed.”