Lion's Share – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to describe someone taking the largest share of the pizza you have for lunch? You could say that they took “the lion’s share” of the pie. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “the lion’s share” means getting the larger portion of something. You take the prime piece of the reward or meal and leave the scraps for others. If you’re taking the lion's share of something, it may cause resentment among the other parties involved.

The lion is the king of the jungle and is entitled to the “lion's share” of something. You can think of it as another way of telling people you’re taking more as a tax because of the value you bring to the project. The lion's share can refer to dividing up anything between parties where one individual gets more than the rest.

Example Usage

“I’m expecting us to net over a million from this deal. I’ll be getting the lion’s share of the return due to providing the bulk of the investment into the project.”

“Dad always makes sure he gets the lion’s share of the ribeye at dinner. He loves steak, and we all let him have as much as he wants.”

“You can have the lion’s share of the attention at the event. I’ll just chill in the background and let you steal the limelight.”

“If you want to take the lion’s share of the deal, that’s okay. If you think I don’t deserve an equal share, we just won’t work together again, that’s all.”

“Why are you getting the lion’s share of the winnings? You didn’t put in any extra money, so why do you deserve it over the rest of us?”

“Why is it that Mike always gets the lion’s share of the ice cream, and we all get his leftovers? I think it’s unfair.”


The expression “the lions share” originates from the early 18th century. The first appearance of the saying in writing comes from Aesop’s Fables, published in 1701. The fable describes a lion accompanying three other beasts on a hunting expedition.

When dividing the spoils with the others, the lion takes the first portion for his title as king of the jungle. He takes the second for his role in the hunt. He claims the third because he is the strongest in the group and the final piece because that’s the way he says it is.

The moral of the story is “One may share the labors, but will not share the spoils.”

The saying changed over time. Now it means the larger share rather than the whole portion.

Phrases Similar to Lion's Share

  • First in line.
  • Bulk of the deal.
  • The top spot.
  • The first to feed.

Phrases Opposite to Lion's Share

  • The leftovers.
  • The scraps.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Lion’s share.

Ways People May Say Lion's Share Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with what lions eat. It's a way of saying that you get the largest quantity of something. When using "lions share," you're saying that you're willing to defend your right to attaining the largest piece of something tangible or non-tangible.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Lion's Share

You can use the expression "lions share" when referring to the largest portion or section of something. It could be something physical or non-tangible. For instance, you could get the lion's share of the chicken at dinner because you are the leader of the household.

Or, you could get the lion's share of people's attention when you're at a party. The phrase suits use in social and professional situations. Use it with your friends to say that you'll pay for the lion's share of expenses on a trip. Or use it at work to say that you bring in the lion's share of sales and the biggest commissions for the team.

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