50 Slang Terms for Money

By Mark Nichol

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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23 Responses to “50 Slang Terms for Money”

  • David Nicholls

    Missing: From England: Swag, Dosh, Lolley
    From Australia: Brick a $20 note
    Razoo – a worthless coin (also “brass razoo”)
    Green stuff
    Quid: 1 pound (UK and Oz)

  • T A McNeil

    I would add juice, chips and commish (commision) to the list. There is also the expression related to one’s personal investment in a venture – skin, as in – skin in the game.

  • Sybil Jackson

    And if you’re Canadian you have Loonies and Toonies. We used to amuse our chat room friends in the U.S. talking about them. We convinced them that we are indeed Looney Tunes up here. There were plans for a $5 coin but nobody has figured out what to call it yet. I enjoy what I receive from you. I learn something new almost every day. ~ Sybil Jackson (in Central Ontario).

  • Ron

    You forgot one, Yenom.

  • Sally

    Australians love nicknames, even for our currency.

    A list can be found here http://noteworthy-collectibles.blogspot.com.au/2010/04/australian-currency-nicknames.html

    To the pre-decimal list I would add:
    • ‘Trey’ for threepence;
    • ‘Deener,’ alternative term for one shilling (from ‘dinar,’ a Middle Eastern coin from the WWI era);
    • ‘Sov’ for sovereign = one pound sterling;
    • ‘Guinea’ – although the last guinea was officially minted in 1815, a sum of twenty-one shillings was still referred to as a ‘guinea’ when my father was young (1950s);
    • In the early days, the colony of New South Wakes used the large Spanish Dollar, made into two coins by punching out the middle. The large doughnut shaped coin was the ‘Holey / Holy Dollar’ and the smaller central part was the ‘Dump.’

  • Francene

    Quite surprised Wonga isn’t on the list.

  • Warsaw Will

    More from the UK:
    nicker – pound(s) (mainly London, I think)
    a monkey – 500 pounds
    a pony – 25 pounds
    a fiver, a tenner – five pounds, ten pounds
    coppers – 1p and 2p coins (because of their colour)
    a wad / wads of cash – lots of cash
    readies – cash
    brass – money (Northern England) – “Where there’s muck, there’s brass”

  • M.C. Shaw

    Along with two bits (25 cents) we use four bits and six bits for 50 cents and 75 cents.

  • J Rice

    Totally missed one: CASH!

  • Blythe

    Love the list! Similarly to moolah, there’s, “mazuma,” which old Yiddish. And also, “kopecks” which is Russian, but I remember my parents using it as slang.

  • Daniel Scocco

    It would be funny to compare those slang terms with the ones in other languages.

  • Eric L

    You might update “bucks” to include a note that it sometimes refers to multiples of $100. For example, “The new tires are good, but I’m not sure they’re worth a buck and a half apiece” (that is, $150 each).

  • Linde Knighton

    You missed one from TV–“Dinars.” (Hercules and Xena), and “Credits” from some of the Science fiction shows. Oh, and ,
    “Gold Pressed Latinum.” Thanks to Star Trek. Not all that common except with fans of those shows.

  • Geneen

    I would add “cheese” in addition to cheddar, and although it’s Spanish we still say “dinero” sometimes. Can’t believe “Paper” is missing; gotta make that paper, in reference to earning money for labor!! LOLOL

  • Billy

    A lot of these are repeats, but here’s the list I have…

    • Almighty dollar
    • Banknote
    • Bankroll
    • Benjamins
    • Big Ones
    • Bills
    • Bones
    • Booty
    • Bread
    • Bucks (cause I’m fresh dressed like a million bucks)
    • Cabbage
    • Capital
    • Cash
    • Cents
    • Cheese
    • Cheddar
    • Checks
    • Chips
    • Clams
    • C-Notes
    • Coin
    • Commission
    • Cream
    • Cushion
    • Dead Presidents
    • Dimes
    • Dinero
    • Dollars
    • Dough
    • Fetti
    • Finances
    • Five Spot
    • Funds
    • Gold
    • Grand
    • Gravy
    • Greenbacks
    • High Society
    • Juice
    • Large
    • Legal Tender
    • Lettuce
    • Luccini
    • Loot
    • Moolah
    • Nickel
    • Ones
    • Quarter
    • Paper
    • Pay
    • Payment
    • Pesos
    • Riches
    • Scratch
    • Simoleons
    • Singles
    • Smackers
    • Skrilla
    • Snaps
    • Stacks
    • Stash
    • Sugar
    • Ten Spot
    • Treasure
    • Wad
    • Wages
    • Wealth

  • DaShiznit

    Nobody has dropped a “Hundo” yet?

    (Slang for a Benjamin, $100 Bill, etc… usually used in card games in US)

  • ExLIer

    Ya left out one of my favorites: Bananas!

  • Brass Razoo

    Pavarotti = $10 (tenor, tenner)
    Michelle = $5 (Pfeiffer, fiver)

  • Trisha Sims

    Surprisingly I didn’t see the word GUAP on there. You know they say I gotta go get dat GUAP baby. That’s any amount of money!!!

  • Charlene

    Don’t know about you, but I bring home the BACON.

  • Qukis

    A lemon = a million.

  • Chuy

    Has anyone heard of money referred to as corn ?
    Example : I need to count my corn. To see how much money I have.

  • Bri Kelly

    YARD-100 dollar bill, reference, 100 yard dash… Canadian distance before metric measures took over…. YUCK!!!

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