Slang or Idiomatic Terms to Refer to Money in the US

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 or phrases used to refer to money, specifically paper money in different parts of the US. 

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




Related Posts