Offer you can't refuse

Kathleen E. Miller millerk at NYTIMES.COM
Tue Jul 6 14:25:37 UTC 2004

How important is meaning in tracking the use of a phrase?

I would think the phrase  "offer you can't refuse" from a used-car dealer
meant "you can't pass it up because it's just so good a deal," while
Corleon's use of the phrase had an implicit threat of violence and death if
you said no.

So does the fact that one is innocuous and one menacing make for a big
enough difference?

Kathleen E. Miller
The New York Times

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