🚗 🚙 Turn your trusty old car into trustworthy journalism Learn more

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.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.