a sawhorse.

Origin of sawbuck

1860–65, Americanism; compare Dutch zaagbok



noun Slang.

a ten-dollar bill.

Origin of sawbuck

1840–50, Americanism; so called from the resemblance of the Roman numeral X to the crossbars of a sawbuck1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sawbuck

Historical Examples of sawbuck

  • "Here's your ten and costs," says Pinckney, tossing him a sawbuck.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • They drove a pack-horse, their supplies loaded on a sawbuck saddle with kyacks.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine

  • Rob threw the sawbuck pack-saddle on top of the padded blanket.

  • "It pleases me to say that I pulled a sawbuck out of Emery," he said.

    Frank Merriwell's Races

    Burt L. Standish

  • The sawbuck followed it, the cinch flying high so that it should go clear.

    The Eagle's Heart

    Hamlin Garland

British Dictionary definitions for sawbuck



US and Canadian a sawhorse, esp one having an X-shaped supporting structure
mainly US and Canadian slang a ten-dollar bill

Word Origin for sawbuck

C19: (in the sense: sawhorse) translated from Dutch zaagbok; (in the sense: ten-dollar bill) from the legs of a sawbuck forming the Roman numeral X
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 sawbuck

"ten-dollar bill," American English slang, 1850, from resemblance of X (Roman numeral 10) to the ends of a sawhorse. Sawbuck in the sense of "sawhorse" is attested only from 1862 but presumably is older (see saw (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper