I've been preparing my tax information, so my mind has been on money. Synonyms for money abound.
In 1737, Benjamin Franklin wrote "The Drinker's Dictionary," listing more than 200 synonyms for inebriation. That may set a record, but today I shall focus on filthy lucre rather than demon rum.
The word simoleans is beloved by cruciverbalists (crossword creators and solvers). It means dollars.
Mark Nichol, writing for Daily Writing Tips, speculated that the word comes from a combination of simon, slang for the British sixpence and later the American dollar, and napoleon, a form of French currency.
It is also the name of the currency in "The Sims" computer games.
Another good "s" word for currency is spondulicks. That slang term originated in the mid-1800s, as did the term for a $10 bill, sawbuck. A dime can be a 10-cent coin or $10.
I've been confused while reading a novel where someone pays a dime for something obviously worth more than 10 cents, even accounting for inflation. In the same muddled vein, a nickel is $5 and a quarter $25.
Dollars are often called bucks or clams, perhaps stemming from deerskin and shells used as currency.
Another slang term for dollars is bones, which I hope were never used as currency. Paper money is called long green, lettuce, cabbage or greenbacks, all from the color of the bills.
Greenback originally applied specifically to the 19th century Demand Note dollars created by Abraham Lincoln to finance the costs of the Civil War for the North. The original note was printed in black and green on the back side.
General currency can be referred to as bread or dough (both terms probably in reference to the necessity of money), bacon (another necessity), or as moola, or moolah, dead presidents, coin, lucre, scratch, the ready, the needful, or pelf.
When pelf is used, it is generally assumed to be wealth or riches gained dishonestly.
Paper money is also often called by the name of the dead president who appears on it. Thus, a $10 bill is a Hamilton, a $20 is a Jackson, and a $100 is a Franklin. People who refer to them this way must be more familiar than I with "the ready."
A $500 bill featured a portrait of William McKinley, and a $1,000 showcased Grover Cleveland. McKinleys and Clevelands are no longer in circulation.
What about bits? My father often spoke of things that cost two bits or six bits, probably to confuse his daughter.
In colonial America, the most common unit of currency used was the Spanish dollar, also known as "piece of eight," which was worth eight Spanish silver reales. A bit was one-eighth of a dollar and two bits made a quarter.
Moving to the high end, we can look for lots of Gs, or grands in stacks. A grand is a thousand dollars, and stacks are multiples of a thousand dollars.
By now you certainly have enough ways to refer to money, whether you have racks on racks (lots) or dust (nothing but).
Kathy McIntosh, Boise author, speaker and freelance editor. Owner of A Well-Placed Word. email@example.com