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Old June 8th, 2015, 11:19 PM   #1

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Origins of the slang names for your money

I was actually reading up on the trapper, scout, mountain man, Joe R Walker when there was mention of the origins of the use of buck for a dollar. In the 18th century a deer pelt was worth a dollar and for some reason 'buck' has remained to this day. Of course! In the U.S.A, I'd guess that makes 'buck' about as old as the dollar itself.

I immediately thought of quid, which is a slang term in the UK for a pound sterling, so I had a look on wiki -

"The term may have come via Italian immigrants from "scudo", the name for a number of coins used in Italy until the 19th century; or from Latin 'quid' via the common phrase quid pro quo, literally, "what for what," or, figuratively, "An equal exchange or substitution"

Mm.. so we're not really sure where it came from, although quid pro quo would make sense.

The Quid!
Click the image to open in full size.

In my home town in the English/Scottish Borders, a pound sterling is called a 'bar' in the slang language. It was the common term I used when I was growing up. I'll need to try and track the origins of that one down.

What other slang names are out there around the world and what is the origin. Can anyone contribute some?

Last edited by Jim Casy; June 8th, 2015 at 11:37 PM.
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Old June 9th, 2015, 12:01 AM   #2

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Got this from a website

"Terms such as ‘pony’ for 25 and ‘monkey’ for 500 are thought to have been introduced to the UK as a result of colonialism in India. The 25 rupee note was adorned with a picture of a horse, and the 500 rupee note with a picture of a monkey"
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Old June 9th, 2015, 01:15 AM   #3

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Benjamins for US $100 bills, due to Benjamin Franklin being in the portrait on the front.

Dead Presidents, because of the dead presidents in the portraits on many bills.

G, short four a grand. $1000

Last edited by Scaeva; June 9th, 2015 at 01:18 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2015, 01:32 AM   #4

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Moolah, sponz, readies, dosh (to be sploshed) & cash (to be splashed).

Squids/bin lids - quid
Dickie divers/skyvers - fivers
Yools/jimmy joes - tenners
Score/twenty spot
A tonne/bennies ($)
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Old June 9th, 2015, 02:08 AM   #5

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Sawbuck, a ten dollar bill:The older versions of the ten dollar bill included the roman numeral for ten, "X", which resembles one of the ends of a real sawbuck, which is a wooden device made with crossed pieces of wood that look like the letter X
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Old June 9th, 2015, 04:21 AM   #6
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In London and some parts of the south (AFAIK):

grand 1000
monkey 500
Ton 100
pony 25
score 20
Tenner 10
Fiver 5
Squid 1
Quid 1

These are the most common anyway, no idea where they come from. Rhyming slang has many more:

Money Slang : Cockney Rhyming Slang
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Old June 9th, 2015, 04:33 AM   #7
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On pay day in the U.S., you'll hear employees asking if the eagle has landed yet. This is a reference to now extinct silver eagle 1$ coins and 10$ gold eagle coins.
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Old June 9th, 2015, 11:41 PM   #8

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Here's a few more slang words which were in common usage when I was growing up and still are -

Shekel - This is an Israeli coin, from Hebrew, but in Berwick Upon Tweed the meaning has changed. Shekel in Berwick means the small denomination coinage or 'change' that you have in your pocket. I wonder if it came into common usage via the soldiers of the army barracks, the K.O.S.B (Kings Own Scottish Borderers) served all over the commonwealth.

Lowi - This means money. I have no idea where it comes from and have had to spell it phonetically. I suspect it may be from India (Hindi?), via the large Gypsy population that used to live near Berwick?

Last edited by Jim Casy; June 9th, 2015 at 11:55 PM.
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