50 Slang Terms for Money

By Mark Nichol

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I find very little about money to be interesting, other than counting my own, but I’ve noted that there’s a rich fund of slang terms for money that can help enliven both casual and more serious content about currency and finance. Here’s a roster of slang synonyms in plural form for words for US currency in particular, many of which are useful for playful references to money or as options for evoking a historical period in fiction by using contemporary idiom:

1. Bank: money
2. Benjamins: a one-hundred-dollar bill (in reference to the portrait of Benjamin Franklin that distinguishes it)
3. Big ones: multiples of one thousand dollars
4. Bills: multiples of one hundred dollars
5. Bones: dollars (origin unknown)
6. Bread: money in general (on the analogy of it being a staple of life)
7. Bucks: dollars (perhaps from a reference to buckskins, or deerskins, which were once used as currency)
8. Cabbage: paper money (from its color)
9. Cheddar (or chedda): money (origin unknown, but perhaps from the concept of cheese distributed by the government to welfare recipients)
10. Clams: dollars (perhaps from the onetime use of seashells as currency)
11. Coin: money, either paper or coinage
12-13. Cs (or C-notes): multiples of one hundred dollars (from the Roman symbol for “one hundred”)
14. Dead presidents: paper money (from the portraits of various former US presidents that usually distinguish bills of various denominations)
15. Dime: ten dollars (by multiplication of the value of the ten-cent coin)
16. Dough: money in general (akin to the usage of bread)
17-18. Doubles (or dubs): twenty-dollar bills
19. Ducats: money (from the Italian coin)
20. Fins: five-dollar bills (perhaps from the shared initial sound with fives)
21. Five-spots: five-dollar bills
22. Fivers: five-dollar bills
23. Folding stuff: paper money
24. Greenbacks: paper money (from the color of the ink)
25. Gs: thousand-dollar bills (an abbreviation for grand)
26. Grand: one thousand dollars (as in “three grand” for “three thousand dollars”)
27. Large: thousand-dollar bills
28. Lettuce: paper money (from its color)
29. Long green: paper money (from its shape and color)
30. Loot: money (originally denoted goods obtained illicitly or as the spoils of war)
31. Lucre: money or profit (from the biblical expression “filthy lucre,” meaning “ill-gained money”)
32. Moola (or moolah): money (origin unknown)
33. Nickel: five dollars (by multiplication of the value of the five-cent coin)
34. Ones: dollars (also, fives for “five-dollar bills,” tens for “ten-dollar bills,” and so on)
35. Quarter: twenty-five dollars (by multiplication of the value of the twenty-five-cent coin)
36. Sawbucks: ten-dollar bills (from the resemblance of X, the Roman symbol for ten, to a sawbuck, or sawhorse)
37. Scratch: money (perhaps from the idea that one has to struggle as if scratching the ground to obtain it)
38. Shekels: dollars (from the biblical currency)
39. Simoleons: dollars (perhaps from a combination of simon, slang for the British sixpence and later the American dollar, and napoleon, a form of French currency)
40. Singles: one-dollar bills
41. Skrilla: money (origin unknown)
42. Smackers: dollars (origin unknown)
43. Spondulix: money (either from spondylus, a Greek word for a shell once used as currency, or from the prefix spondylo-, which means “spine” or “vertebra”; these have a common etymology)
44. Stacks: multiples of a thousand dollars
45. Tenners: ten-dollar bills
46. Ten-spots: ten-dollar bills
47. Two bits: twenty-five cents (a reference to pieces of eight, divisible sections of a Mexican real, or dollar)
48. Wad: a bundle of paper money
49. Wampum: money (from the Native American term wampumpeag, referring to native currency)
50. Yards: one hundred dollars

There are, of course, many other terms, dated or current, including borrowings of foreign terms like dinero. What did I miss (or omit)?

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