English Idiom – Loan shark.

Meaning – Someone who lends people money and charges them an extremely high rate of interest. A loan shark is usually dishonest and sometimes they will threaten violence if the loaned money is not repaid on time. These types of loans are often illegal.

  • This phrase is used when you do not approve of the person lending money.
  • A loan is a sum of money. When you receive a loan you usually have to pay some percentage extra (usually by year) to the person or organisation you are borrowing money from. This is known as interest. Interest from a bank (or similar) is usually a few percent. Interest from a loan shark could be hundreds or even thousands of percent!
  • Borrowing money from a loan shark to pay off other debts would be an example of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
  • The idiom swimming with sharks can be used to describe a situation when you are involved with dangerous or dishonest people.


When could you use this idiom?

  • You are warning someone against borrowing money.
  • A dishonest person is trying to lend you money.
  • Somebody you know is being chased over the money they owe.
  • You are looking to borrow money at a reasonable rate, but fear you are being charged too much interest.


  • “Lisa borrowed a lot of money from a loan shark last year. Now she is in even more debt and they are now threatening her!”

In The News:


  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.