Slang dictionary

rubber band

or poppin' rubber bands [ruhb-er band]

What does rubber band mean?

The handy, dandy rubber band, useful for flinging at people and holding together important things, like stacks of cash money, as rubber bands refer to in hip-hop slang.

Rubber bands also come up in fashion contexts, from bracelets and hairstyles, and a common complaint for those who have to use special ones for orthodontic braces.

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Related words

poppin’, Monopoly money, fuck up some commas, make it rain, 💵- banknote with dollar sign emoji

Where does rubber band come from?

A quick history lesson: The rubber band was invented in the 1840s by the company Messers Perry and Co, originally made of vulcanized rubber.

Rubber bands help us hold all sorts of things together. Rappers find it quite useful for all that cash they are making rain. In hip-hop slang, rubber bands is used in slang expressions for lots of money (i.e., large stacks of bills held together by a rubber band). A number of songs talk about rubber bands, including T.I.’s 2003 “Rubber Band Man,” Wiz Khalifa’s 2007 “Poppin’ Rubber Bands,” and Brooke Candy’s 2015 “Rubber Band Stacks.” All of these songs feature rubber bands as boasts about their wealth and success more generally.

In 2018, Cardi B helped popularize the expression poppin’ rubber bands when she rapped it on Bruno Mars’s song “Finesse”: “I went from dollar bills, now we poppin’ rubber bands.” The image is that she’s earned so much money from her small-bills that they make rubber bands pop, unable to hold the stack together.

Rubber bands, in the form of bendy bracelets, were also part of a moral panic in the 2000s. Some parents thought teenagers were wearing sex bands, or colorful bracelets that resembled rubber bands, to signify what sexual acts they were willing to do with others. But this was an urban legend, the colorful wrist-wear was just a fashion statement … calm down old folks.

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Examples of rubber band

Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar made so much money, he spent over $2,500 every month just on rubber bands to bundle up his stacks of cash.
@WhatTheFFacts, August, 2018
The cool thing about rubber bands it that they are mostly like an ideal spring—but not exactly. Both springs and rubber bands have a special property: It takes more force to stretch them the farther you pull.
Rhett Allain, Wired, March, 2018
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Who uses rubber band?

The term and object, rubber band, sees wide uses, from office spaces to classrooms to wearing braces and styling hair.

As for the hip-hop slang, rubber bands often appears in the expression poppin’ rubber bands, or earning/spending a lot of money or feeling classy, sexy, and successful more generally.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of rubber band like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of rubber band that will help our users expand their word mastery.