Slang Terms to Refer to Money in the USA

Posted On: May 29, 2015

Idioms and phrases for money in the USAPaper money in the US can be referred to by a lot of words that don’t sound anything like the word money. Below are a few words, idiomatic or slang terms to refer to money in the USA. 

Word list of Slang or Idioms Meaning Money in the USA

Sample Sentence: “He brings home a lot of bacon!”
Meaning of Bacon  Bacon doesn’t refer to an amount. For instance, I have never heard someone say, “I have 20 bacons.” (Instead of twenty dollars.)


Sample Sentence: “I’ve got 20 Benjamins.”

Meaning of Benjamins:  Dollar bills (This is a guess. I have not heard this term being used where I am from in the US.)

Big Ones
Sample Sentence: “I’ve got 20 big ones!”
Meaning of Big Ones: Synonym for Dollars – “I’ve got 20 big ones.” Means I have $20.

Sample Sentence: “I bring home a lot of bread!”
Meaning of Bread: Bread is used like bacon. 

Sample Sentence: “I have 20 bucks.” 
Meaning of Bucks: Synonym for dollars – “I have 20 bucks.” Means “I have 20 dollars.”

Cold, hard cash
Sample Sentence: “I have cold, hard cash.”  “I have $1,000 in cold, hard cash.”
Meaning of Cold, hard cashUsually this is said when someone wants to be paid in cash – not credit or check. Or to denote they actually have paper money on their person.

Sample Sentence: “That’ll be 5 clams.” “He’s got a lotta clams!”
Meaning of ClamsRefer to an amount of money, either general or specific. Similar to smackeroos.

Sample Sentence: “He wants 5 Gs for the car.” “That house is 100 grand!”
Meaning of Gs/GrandG or Grand stands for 1,000 increments.


Sample Sentence:  “I’ve got 20 greenbacks.” 

Meaning of GreenbacksUsed like “Benjamins. Maybe we know the amount from this, maybe we don’t.
Sample Questions: “Where’s the loot?”
Meaning of LootSynonym for money, not a specific amount.
Sample Sentence: “I need some moolah.” “He has a lot of moolah.”
Meaning of MoolahMoney in general. We don’t know the amount from this word.
Sample Sentence: “Wow, he’s got alotta scratch!”
Meaning of ScratchUsed in place of money (similar to moolah). We don’t know the amount from this.
Sample Sentence: “Could I have 10 singles for this 10-spot?” “Can I have a five spot, a ten spot and five singles for this 20 spot?”
Meaning of SinglesMeaning of singles: Dollar bills  $1

Smackaroos or Smackers
Sample Sentence: “That’ll be 5 smackeroos.” “He’s got a lotta smackeroos!”
Meaning of smackaroos
Refer to an amount of money, either general or specific. Similar to clams.

Sample Sentence: “Could I have 10 singles for this 10-spot?” “Can I have a five spot, a ten spot and five singles for this 20 spot?”
Meaning of spot: Refer to any specific denomination that has a paper bill (note) ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, so forth)
Sample Sentence: “
That’s quite a wad of money you have!”
Meaning of wad: A bundle or bunch of paper money It could be a large or small amount.
Jennifer Kumar consults with international assignees to the US to prepare them for the realities of cross-cultural business with Americans. Contact us to learn more. 

Related Posts: 

Paycheck deductions in the US 
Ordering in Restaurants in the US 
Learn about US Coins

Original post date: 5/29/15, Edited 7/3/2020
Image credit: Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Photo by Karolina Grabowska:


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