Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Show me the MONEY!!

Thirteen Infobits about Money in America

Money is an important commodity, and our language reflects that importance with an excess of referring terms.

1. Some words used as synonyms for the general term "money" are:
Cash, Scratch, Moolah, Bread, Lettuce, Dough, Wampum, Capital, Do-re-mi, Jack

2. We all recognize the universal sign for money -- the hand cupped upwards while rubbing one's thumb across the pads of the other fingers.
Americans have also come up with a variety of words for specific denominations of money as well.

3. Small amounts of money, coins, might be referred to as jingle or silver.

4. A dollar bill has been referred to as a greenback, a buck , a clam, or a simolean.

5. Bigger bills also have designated slang terms. A hundred dollar bill can be called a C-note, derived from the Roman numeral meaning 100; and a relatively common US term for $1000 is a grand, a K, or a big one.

6. Bills in general might be called presidents or dead presidents because of the pictures on the bills.

The 1920s and 1930s were particularly rich in American slang terms for money, some of which are still in use today.

7. Some terms referred to money's use in purchasing food: bacon (as in bring home), bread, dough, and so on. Other terms referred to the color of the bills: cabbage, lettuce, green, greenbacks.

We have devised many ways to speak of those who have lots of it:

8. She is loaded; or he is flashing a roll. They might be rolling in dough. He's a money-bags, has deep pockets or is a fat cat. She's got quite a stash.

We have expressions to describe how people use their money.

9. He might use his wealth to be somebody's sugar daddy; or he might just go for flashy bling-bling. Or we might say "Ol' Diamond Jim is flashing cash." On the other hand, he might be tight-fisted, a penny-pincher -- just an old skinflint, a regular scrooge.

Conversely we have words for those who are severely lacking in the green department.

10. Poor guy, he's busted. I can't help you right now, I'm a little short this week. She's broke too. You know she just gets paid peanuts. He doesn't have one red cent to his name.

We even have words related to electronic money.

11. I can't use the plastic - I'm maxed out.

The aquisition of money has its terminology too.

12. Money acquired dishonestly might be called payola, booty, or boodle. Whereas a person might earn a pittance or pull down six figures and make a bundle.

Often our place names reflect our values. We name states, counties and cities for revered leaders of the past (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Pennsylvania, Lincoln, LaFayette, Jacksonville), and for qualities and features of nature that we admire (Colorado, Montana, Florida, Walden Pond, Bull Run, Bear Creek, Buffalo). We have also named some places for the almighty dollar.

13. If you take a good look at a map of The US you will see towns with such names as, for example: Cash City, AR; Poverty, KY; Money, MS; Coinjock, NC; Cheapside, TX; Diamond City, AR; Bonanza, CO; Vendor, AR; and Greenback, TN for starters.

And, by the way, did you know that Roanoke is Algonquin for "shell money"?

**This post is taken from a copyrighted article by this author.

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