Money slang: Marketplace’s urban finance dictionary

Daryl Paranada Aug 8, 2012

Money slang: Marketplace’s urban finance dictionary

Daryl Paranada Aug 8, 2012

The other day, host Kai Ryssdal used the term “ganking” on air. It was, suffice to say, a first for us. Perhaps a first on public radio. Here’s how the term turned up on the radio:

Kai Ryssdal: So there are a couple of things in the headline of this post that got to us. The first was “cardboard theft,” and the second was “surprisingly lucrative.” Really?

John Metcalfe: It’s true. People don’t really think about it at all because it’s seen as garbage, but in New York City — just New York — the people who recycle this material say they are losing $8-10 million each year due to people just ganking their cardboard.

Ryssdal: I’m sorry, “ganking” their cardboard? Is that a word?

Metcalfe: Yeah, just stealing it right off the curb.

That got us thinking, what other slang terms are used to talk about money and business? Below find a list of Marketplace’s urban finance dictionary. And contribute your own words. Leave a comment, send us an email, or let us know on Facebook.


Gank — To steal. They are losing a lot of money because people are ganking their cardboard.
Grease — Bribe. I greased the seater so I could get stronger drinks.
Jank — To steal. She janked my whole paycheck.
Kipe — To steal or snatch a commonly shoplifted item.

Bacon — You have to get to work so you can bring home the bacon. Possibly originated from the 12th century, when a church in the English town of Dunmow promised a side of bacon to any married man who could show marital devotion.
Bar — A pound. From the late 1800s.
Bees and honey — Cockney rhyming slang for money.
Benjamins — From the song “It’s All About the Benjamins” by then-Puff Daddy: “Five plus Fives, who drive Millenniums / It’s all about the Benjamins, what?”
Bling — From the song “Bling Bling” by Lil Wayne: “Everytime I buy a new ride / Bling bling”
Bob — Old British slang for shilling
Bones — He owes me 40 bones.
Bougie — Derived from bourgeois. Enjoy your bougie $80 dinner, I’m fine with my Taco Bell.
Brass — From the song “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders.
Bread — May have originated from jazz great Lester Young. He is said to have asked “How does the bread smell?” when asking how much a gig was going to pay.
Buckaroos — How much does that hat cost? Like 50 buckaroos.
C-Note — A $100 bill. Do you have change for a C-note?
Cabbage — An informal term for money.
Cake — If we work hard, we’ll be making cake later.
Caysh — An alternative to cash.
Cha-ching — The sound a cash register makes. He’s got that cha-ching.
Change — An insignificant amount of money. Also used with “spare change,” “loose change,” and “chump change.”
Cheddar — From the song “56 Bars” by TI: “Ay, ha, ha, better check my swagger / How I walk, how I talk, how I stack that cheddar”
Cheese — I’m making mad cheese.
Chump change — I’m not worried about losing that money, it’s just chump change.
Clams — I shell out clams for the things I want the most.
Coin — That sounds like a good job, you probably make decent coin.
CREAM — The acronym standing for, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” which originates from the Wu Tang Clan.
Credits — Want to grab a beer after work? I can’t, my girl’s got all my credits.
Dead presidents — She’s making mad dead presidents working on that movie. Used because American bills have pictures of the dead presidents.
Dinero — The Spanish word for money. Yo no tengo dinero.
Dividends — Cash money.
Doubloon — Old Spanish gold coin.
Dough — I spent all my dough on my new ride.
Dosh — Do you want to go to that concert? I can’t, got no dosh.
Dub — A $20 bill. That book is gonna cost two dubs.
Ducat — An ancient word for a gold coin.
Dust — As in “nothing but.” Let me borrow 5 bucks. I got dust.
Fiat — Paper money.
Folding green — Folding paper money.
Frogskin An old term for a banknote.
G — Hey, can I borrow 10 G’s?
Gouda — From the song “Gouda” by E-40: “Gettin’ money I’m a stunna, man (Gouda)”
Grand — A thousand dollars. Renting out a room in that house for a week will set me back two grand.
Gravy — We are expected to break even. Anything more than that is gravy.
Green — You better get to work so you can earn that green.
Greenback — U.S. paper currency. It entered American English vocabulary during the Civil War.
Grip — A large amount. Fiona’s new BMW must have cost a grip.
Guap — I worked overtime this week to get this guap.
Ice — Expensive jewelry. Check out the ice around her neck.
Jacksons — A $20 bill. Can you give me three jacksons so I can buy some new shoes?
Juice — Money, power, respect. He’s got the juice.
Keesh — Do you have any keesh on you?
Lincolns — A $5 bill. Hey, you got any lincolns? I want to buy some lunch.
Lint — As in “nothing but.” Ain’t nothing but lint in my pocket.
Loot — I’ve been at work stacking loot all day.
Makin it rain — To have so much money that you throw it up in the air.
Meal ticket — A million dollars.
Monay — Money. Monay (in da bank)
Moolah — Millie needs to make more moolah, so she’s looking for a second job.
Nickels — To be poor. As in “not have two nickels to rub together.”
Okane — Money in Japanese.
Paper — At his new job, Kai is making paper.
Pesos — Mexican currency.
Plastic — Credit card. Bust out that plastic ’cause you’re paying for our dinner.
Poppin’ rubber bands — When you have so much money that a rubberband can’t hold it all.
Quid — One pound in British Sterling.
Racks on racks — Stacks of money.
Scratch — Why are you still at work? I’m doing it for the scratch.
Scrilla — I need to work more so I can get that scrilla.
Shekel — Ancient units of currency.
Simoleons —  I made a mound of simoleons at work today. Also the name of the currency in “The Sims” computer games.
Slug — A dollar bill. He needs a slug to buy some gum.
Spondulicks — A mid-19th century term for money.
Squid — An alternative to quid.
Stacks — From the song “Stacks on Deck” by Soulja Boy: “Holla stacks on deck stacks on deck / If you know you gettin’ money, pull out a 100”
Sugar — Informal term for money. Frequently used in the terms “sugar daddy” or “sugar momma.”
Tuppence — An old English word for money.
Wonga — English word for money.
Yaper — Rhymes with Paper. My wife just buys and buys and buys, she’s spending all my yaper.

9-5 — A job. I work a 9 to 5 for a living.
Baller — Someone who is very successful. Did you just see that baller who passed by in his Corvette?
Bidness — Business. That’s the bidness right there.
Boffo — A huge success. That movie got boffo reviews. It got an A from Entertainment Weekly.
Bogart — To keep something all for oneself. From the song “Don’t Bogart That Joint” by Lawrence Wagner: “Don’t bogart that joint my friend / Pass it over to me.”
Felted — In gambling terms, you’re out of chips.
Filthy lucre — The money he got from winning that bet was filthy lucre.
The first — Payday.
Pony up — Pay up.

What are your favorite slang terms for money? Let us know so we can add it to the page. Leave a comment or send us an email.

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