Break The Bank With These Slang Terms For Money

piggy bank

We’ve got our mind on our money and our money on our mind. And while we’re mulling over all this moolah, we’re also thinking about the many words we use to refer to cash. Don’t believe us? We’ll put our money where our mouth is and show you all the words we could find. (And best of all, it won’t cost you a dime! … Feeling lucky yet?)


The English word cash was first recorded in the late 1500s and comes through the French casse (“case, box”) from the Latin capsa (“case” or “coffer”), which both refer to things you keep money in.


In the US, money is often referred to as green or the green because paper bills are—wait for it—green!


The slang greenbacks for US paper bills dates back to the Civil War when the government began using green ink on the reverse side of banknotes to attempt to thwart counterfeiters.

lettuce and cabbage

These two vegan-friendly words for money date all the way back to the early 1900s and yet again reference the green color of dollar bills.


The slang coin is used in both the United States and the United Kingdom to refer generally to money, and not just the varieties of metal coins that have been used as currency for thousands of years.


Dollar bills have been issued by the US government since 1862, but the slang bill is often used to specifically mean $100.


There are several theories as to why the cheesy slang cheddar is used to refer to money. According to the most popular theory, cheddar referred to government cheese found in welfare packages. From there, it was used to refer to money (i.e. benefits) from the government rather than the cheese.


The American slang scratch for money can be traced back to 1914, but nobody knows why this itchy word was first used to refer to cash.


The term bank has been used to refer to money—and not just the place we keep it—since the 1500s. Its use to indicate a large sum of money can be traced back to at least the 1990s.


The word bread has been used as American slang for money since at least the 1930s. Food is among the most important reasons people need money, and the slang bread likely refers to the fact that bread is one of the most commonly eaten (and purchased) foods.


Interestingly, the slang dough for money predates the slang bread, as it has been used in this sense since at least the 1830s. However, it is commonly thought that using dough for money is related to the use of bread as “livelihood” (“to earn one’s bread”) that has been attested since the 1700s.


The word bacon is used to refer to money or wealth in phrases such as bring home the bacon. This phrase has been recorded since 1924, and it is widely believed to refer to a game played at county fairs in which a person would be awarded a greased pig if they could successfully catch it.

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Benjamin Franklin has been on the $100 bill since 1914, and the slang Benjamins for $100 bills obviously references this fact. Less commonly, other dollar bills may also be referred to by the people depicted on them, such as Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, and Jacksons.


The slang moolah has been used to refer to money since at least 1936, but it is another word with unknown origins.

big ones

The phrase big ones is used both in the US and UK to refer to dollar bills/pounds or to large amounts of money such as a thousand dollars/pounds or a million dollars/pounds. Big ones has been used in this sense since at least 1863.


The word buck has been used as American slang for a dollar since at least 1856. It is possible the word buck refers to the deerskins that were used as currency in the 1700s.

fiver and tenner

The slang words fiver and tenner are used in the US and UK to refer to five dollars/pounds and ten dollars/pounds, and it seems likely that they have been ever since these bills have been in circulation.


The words cha-ching, ka-ching, or ker-ching have been used to refer to money since at least 1969. They’re onomatopoeic expressions based on the sound of a cash register.


The word simoleon has been used as US slang for a dollar since the 1880s, and it is yet another word with an unknown origin—though it’s possible the word is a blend of Simon and Napoleon.


The word shekels can be traced back to at least the 1820s, and it is clearly based on the shekel (sheqel in Hebrew) coins used by the Hebrews, Babylonians, and Phoenicians during Biblical times. The currency of Israel is also known as the New Israel Shekel or shekel, for short.

chump change

The phrase chump change to refer to a small amount of money emerged from Black slang during the 1960s.

Monopoly money

The slang phrase Monopoly money is often used to refer to small amounts of money or something that is worthless. Obviously, the phrase references the fake paper money used in the popular(ly infuriating) board game Monopoly.


The slang bone has been used to mean a dollar since at least 1889, and it is another slang term with unclear origins.


The letter K is used as shorthand to mean a thousand dollars; if someone has 50K, they have $50,000. A K represents the Greek prefix kilo-, which is used in many words that refer to a thousand of something.


The word grand is used in US and UK slang to mean a thousand dollars or a thousand pounds. There are several theories where this term came from, including the possibility that it refers to $1,000 being a grand (“large”) sum of money.


The slang C-note refers to a $100 bill, and the letter C refers to the Roman numeral for 100 that was printed on early $100 banknotes.


Beginning a run of old-timey slang that would have been popular among 1920s bootlegging gangsters, the word clam was probably used as a term for a dollar based on the practices of using shells as currency seen in ancient societies and some Native American tribes.

ducats or duckets

The slang ducats or duckets is based on the gold coins and silver coins of the same name that were once used in parts of Europe.

smackers and smackeroos

Smackers has been used to refer to money since the 1920s, and the sillier smackeroos (or smackarolas, smackeroonies, smackerolas, smackeroonyos, and smackolas) emerged in the 1940s. While we don’t know for sure, it is possible that the term references “smacking” dollar bills into someone’s hand.


The slang large, meaning a thousand dollars, likely comes from the fact that thousands of dollars would be a large amount of money for most people.


The slang word spondulix (and its many spelling variations: spondees, spondles, spondools, spondooli, spondooliks, and spondulix) is unfortunately another one whose origin we simply do not know.

dead presidents

Returning to modern times, we’re looking at the term dead presidents. While most denominations of US paper money do feature images of dead presidents on them, dollar bills also feature influential people who were never president, such as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and—in the future—Harriet Tubman.


Stacks, or fat stacks, refers to towering stacks a person would have if they were rich. A stack can mean specifically $10K.


Unlike most paper, US paper money is made out of cotton and linen rather than the wood pulp used in paper you can buy at the store.


The slang bands references the currency bands that people and banks can use to store and transport large amounts of dollar bills.


The slang rack means a thousand dollars and was popularized by rapper Yung Chris in his 2011 song “Racks.”


Fetti is said to have emerged from Black slang in the Bay Area and, according to popular theory, comes from feria, a Spanish slang word for money.


The slang guap has been used in rap music since the 2000s, but nobody is exactly sure where this word originally came from.

skrilla or scrilla

Skrilla, also spelled scrilla, has been used in rap music since the 1990s, but it is another word whose exact origin is unclear.

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Lucci is another slang word that can be found in 1990s rap music. A common theory suggests it is based on the word lucre.


The acronym C.R.E.A.M., which stands for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” was created by the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan in their 1994 song “C.R.E.A.M.” In an interview, Raekwon the Chef revealed that the slang cream for money was invented by children from his neighborhood and was inspired by, of all things, Tom and Jerry cartoons.


The slang Gouda for money was popularized by rapper E-40, who is known for his creative wordplay. According to E-40, Gouda was inspired by the older terms cheese and cheddar and—he admits—the credit for using this specific type of cheese really belongs to his wife.


Among Brits, dosh is a popular slang term for money, and it can be traced back to the 1950s. Sadly, it is another word with an unknown origin.


The slang quid is used by Brits, Australians, and New Zealanders to refer to a pound sterling or an Australian pound. Quid is recorded back to the 1600s and possibly comes from the Latin quid used in phrases such as quid pro quo.

Australian slang

Australians use some fun slang words to refer to their colorful paper money. Some of these terms include prawn for the pink five dollar bill, blue swimmer for the blue 10, lobster for the red 20, and pineapple for the yellow 50.

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Ready for more? Bring home the bacon with our slang terms for money word list. Then test your knowledge of these terms with our quiz.

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