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  1. a U.S. legal-tender note, printed in green on the back since the Civil War, originally issued against the credit of the country and not against gold or silver on deposit.

Origin of greenback

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65; green + back1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for greenback

currency, money, bill, dough, cash, bread

Examples from the Web for greenback

Contemporary Examples of greenback

Historical Examples of greenback

British Dictionary definitions for greenback


  1. US informal an inconvertible legal-tender US currency note originally issued during the Civil War in 1862
  2. US slang a dollar bill
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for greenback

"U.S. dollar bill," 1862, so called from the time of their introduction, from green (adj.) + back (n.); bank paper money printed in green ink had been called this since 1778 (as opposed to redbacks, etc.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper