THE OCTOBER WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ IS HERE TO HAUNT YOU
Origin of two-bit
Words nearby two-bit
What does two-bit mean?
Two-bit means inferior, cheap, worthless, or insignificant.
The term is perhaps most commonly used to negatively describe a person considered to be a small-time hack—someone who’s not good at what they do due to having a very low level of talent or skill. It’s especially used as an insult applied to people who have a high opinion of themselves to call them out as being far inferior in reality.
Describing something as two-bit means it’s low-quality. This is especially applied to products.
This sense of two-bit is based on its literal meaning: costing 25 cents. The term two bits means 25 cents. It’s based on the sense of the word bit that refers to one eighth of a U.S. dollar, or 12 ½ cents. However, monetary amounts counted in bits were only ever given in multiples of two, as in two bits and six bits. Two bits became an informal way of referring to the value of the 25-cent coin known as the quarter. It then came to be used in a general way meaning a small amount. It’s still sometimes used this way, especially in negative statements, as in That piece of junk isn’t worth two bits or That job is like a vacation—I’d do it for two bits.
Two-bit is always used before the noun it describes.
Example: That two-bit manager is running this company into the ground.
Where does two-bit come from?
The first records of the term two-bit come from around 1800. The first records of the phrase two bits, in reference to 25 cents, come from around the 1720s. Both terms were first and are primarily used in the U.S.
One of the most common and insulting uses of two-bit is to describe someone or someone’s work, which effectively means that they are completely useless or that their work is obviously inferior compared to others. It’s often paired with a word that is already negative, such as con-man, crook, criminal, and huckster.
When the term is applied to things, it’s usually intended to indicate that such things are very low-end and therefore low-quality.
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How is two-bit used in real life?
Two-bit is very informal and is almost always used negatively. It’s perhaps most commonly used to insult people.
If it upsets you that you're blocked, don't worry. I'm just a two-bit actor who'll probably be unemployed in a few years. You'll get over it
— Rahul Kohli (@RahulKohli13) May 27, 2016
“Fighting against me will only make me more popular!” is something two-bit comic villains say when they’re losing.
— Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) May 20, 2019
So sick of hack workarounds and excuses from lazy two-bit software companies
— Myles Carrick (@mylescarrick) September 3, 2015
Try using two-bit!
Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of two-bit?
Example sentences from the Web for two-bit
By Monday evening, it had been leaked to the blogger The Two-Bit Idiot, who published it on the Web.
A published article compares state sponsored police brutality to the individual actions of a two-bit huckster on Youtube.History's Vilest #SlatePitch Asks: Why Do We Bitterly Cling to Free Speech?|Justin Green|September 26, 2012|DAILY BEAST
What possible interest could she have in meeting a two-bit, half-term governor of Alaska?
The Republican takeover of the House is no less dramatic for having been predicted by every two-bit pundit on the planet.
Any two-bit comedian can stand onstage and spout ignorant ethnic slurs.
I havent flown all the way from New York to have a two-bit clerk tell me to wait.Satan and the Comrades|Ralph Bennitt
Knocked off by a two-bit racket boss who thought he was being crossed.Arm of the Law|Harry Harrison
The doorbell woke me up and I dredged my apartment to identify Nora fiddling in my two-bit kitchen with ham and eggs.The Big Fix|George Oliver Smith
Say, I haven't owned a two-bit piece since—wal, fer some time.The Lone Star Ranger|Zane Grey
Hugh had been right; the "two-bit limit" was soon lifted, and Allen urged his guests to go as far as they liked.The Plastic Age|Percy Marks