Slang For Money: How Tough Guys Discuss Business
Slang for money is one of the most popular colloquial terms in English. Whether we like it or not, money is an integral part of our lives. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to name them in English. Nowadays, it is as important as understanding Gen Z slang. In this article, you will find dozens of terms, money metaphors, idioms, and famous expressions. So please make yourself comfortable, and without further ado, let’s learn some slang words for money!
Types of money in English
Before learning modern money slang, you need to know some basics. There are a few different types of money in the majority of English-speaking countries. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones:
- banknotes (bills) – traditional paper money;
- coins – metal money, also called coppers, nickels, and silvers (depending on the metal they’re made from);
- check – a legal piece of paper with the amount of money you want to spend written on it;
- cash – money you have in your pocket, available money (banknotes and coins);
- change – money you get back if you pay more than the thing costs.
Every type has its own colloquial term – and we are excited to tell you about them. Below you can find enough money slang terms for cash, coins, dollars, bills, and much more. Keep reading if you don’t want to miss it!
Popular money slang phrases and expressions
Let’s start with some widespread money-related expressions you can usually hear in conversations with native speakers. Some of them are casual, while others are considered more office slang. Anyway, all these expressions will come in handy in this or that situation.
Money + Adjective
There are two main types of money expressions when it comes to grammar structure. The first type is used when adding an adjective to the word money. You will be surprised by the number of various meanings it can gain with different words. Below, we’ve provided only a few of many examples.
- Easy money
The first slang term for money is used to describe the money you’ve earned without putting in too much effort. For example, you won the lottery, or someone gave it to you as a birthday gift. Here is how you can use this term in your daily conversations:
My mother gave me a few benjamins after I passed the exam. Easy money!
You don’t know how hard I’ve worked to buy this car. It wasn’t just some easy money.
- Bonus money
Another popular money-related expression that is mostly used in office conversations. Bonus money is that you get from your boss after increasing your productivity. For example:
I’ve made a 150% profit this month, and my boss promised me some bonus money.
It would be great to get some bonus money before Christmas.
- Public money
This expression has plenty of synonyms, but taxes are the most popular. In layman’s terms, public money is what the citizens pay to the government. For example:
I can’t believe they've spent so much public money to make this horrible decoration.
The concert on Independence Day is made for public money.
- Dirty money
This slang expression is used to describe money one earned dishonestly. Dirty money is the product of robbery, corruption, fraud schemes, etc. We hope this expression won’t be useful for you, but life is unpredictable, so here are some examples:
I don’t care what you say, I know that this is dirty money.
Spending this dirty money on yourself is stupid – you still won’t be happy.
- Bribe money
Another popular money expression that we hope won’t be useful for you. It describes the money you give another person or organization in exchange for a favor or benefit. Mostly, such money is used in unlawful situations. For example:
John didn’t want to pass the exam for his driver’s license, so he offered the examiner some bribe money.
Nick spent a lot of bribe money to get away with his crime.
- Ransom money
This expression also has a negative context. According to Collins Dictionary, ransom money is the one kidnappers ask in exchange for setting someone free. For example:
The police told him to refuse to pay any ransom money for his wife.
Kidnappers asked for a million dollars of ransom money.
- Silly money
We can use this popular expression to define an enormous, ridiculously large amount of money. For example:
My mother always told me that silly money spoils even the best people.
I can’t believe people are ready to pay silly money for tickets to this concert.
- Well-spent money
This widespread expression is used to describe money that has been spent on something good. For example, you can call well-spent money for charity or for buying something worthwhile. For example:
I don’t regret buying this car. It was well-spent money.
I can’t believe you’ve donated this amount to charity. Truly well-spent money.
Money + Verb
The second type of popular financial expression is created by adding different verbs to the word money. Once again, there are hundreds of such phrases; we’ve listed only the most widespread (and interesting) ones.
- To squander money
The first colloquial expression in our list is opposite to the previous one. In layman’s terms, it means to waste money and spend it on unnecessary things. For example:
Don’t squander your bonus money. Leave something for your family.
Jack always liked to squander money, and now he is completely broke.
- To allocate money
This phrase is also common – you can usually hear it in different business organizations. It means to distribute the money to someone or something. For example:
The money was allocated for two different projects.
The government allocated money for new parks and recreation areas.
- To extort money
It means to demand money from someone. Usually, you can hear someone extorting ransom money (but once again, we hope you’ll never face it). Here are a few examples of using it in sentences:
He will extort money if they terminate his employment.
I don’t want to extort money, but you still have to pay for my broken phone.
- To launder money
This popular expression means to make money illegally and cover these schemes with fake legal methods. For example:
He’d opened this store to launder money.
Numerous dishonest people nowadays know how to launder money and stay unnoticed by the government.
- To earn/make money
Probably, the most widespread expression that means exactly what you think – to earn money by doing something profitable. For example:
I am looking for a job since I need to make some money for the holiday season.
Jack wants to earn money by doing something that he really likes.
- To spend/pay money
After earning money, you need to do something with it. Most people prefer to buy something for themselves or their families, pay taxes or rent, go shopping, etc. These were only a few examples of the expression “to spend money.” Here are some more ways of using it in your speech:
I like to pay money for quality service.
Mary spent a thousand dollars on her new dress.
How would rappers talk – slang terms for money
There are hundreds of various names for money in the modern world. Readies, rhinos, bread, cabbage, lettuce – and no, it’s not just a random compilation of words. These and other expressions are only a few examples of the most common words for money slang. In the list below, you will find some of our favorites.
According to Urban Dictionary, the slang term bread simply means money. It is hard to tell where this name appeared, but some people think it came from ancient times when the most widespread currency was food or other goods. Nowadays, many people use this slang word for money. For example:
I need some bread to buy that coat.
Do you have any bread? Because I’m broke, man.
- Filthy lucre
This common slang term comes from the Bible. Originally, it meant worthless metal or dishonestly earned money. Today, filthy lucre is just the expression that defines money. For example:
Mark doesn’t like his job, but he likes the filthy lucre he receives every week.
He gave me some filthy lucre in the form of a paycheck.
This slang word for cash comes from the expression we’ve mentioned above. Unlike the previous one, this term retained its original meaning. You can use it to describe money obtained by dishonest methods. For example:
We’re out to get some lucci.
This is it, what. Luchini pouring from the sky. (song by Camp Lo)
This term is mainly used in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Some people believe that it comes from the Mexican slang word feria (money), while others think it comes from the word confetti. In any case, the meaning is the same – it is just another slang term for money. For example:
My mother gave me some fetty for high grades.
I need some fetty to get some food.
Believe it or not, this word has nothing to do with African animals. British people use it as colloquial slang for cash. It comes from the Greek word rhino (nose) combined with the idiom to pay through the nose (overpay for something). Today, it is just used instead of the boring word cash. For example:
I really want to go to the cinema, but I don’t have any rhino.
Can we pay with a card? I don’t have any rhino.
Another popular term with the same meaning as the previous one. You can use it to define banknotes and coins in your pockets. The origin of the word is simple – readies are cash, money that you always have on hand, so they are ready to be spent. For example:
I don’t have money for a taxi. Oh, wait, there are some readies in my pocket.
I bought her flowers with my last readies.
This term is mostly used in text messages. It simply means a thousand of something (usually money). The term comes from the Greek word kilo – also meaning thousand. For example:
Q: How much have you spent on those sneakers?
The word cabbage is used to describe a pack of rolled-up dollar bills. Guess why? Yes, because they are green. This term is widespread in America, while British people prefer to replace it with the word lettuce. For example:
You can’t believe how much cabbage I’ve lost.
I’m mad because I’ve lost a pack of lettuce.
It is not as obvious as you think. While Americans use this word to define a one-dollar banknote, Brits use it to define money in general. For example:
Can you ask Kate if she has any dollar?
Hey, man. Got any dollar?
And this word is precisely what you thought the previous one was. It is a popular slang word that means one dollar. The origin is simple – dollars are green, frogs are green, and that’s it. For example:
I paid five frogskins for that coffee.
Can you give me ten frogskins? I really want that book.
This is one of the most popular ways to call money in slang among rappers. You can probably hear it in every modern rap composition. It can mean just money or stolen money, depending on the circumstances. For example:
Be careful, I’ve heard they’ve started looting the shops again.
I go hard in the booth, Biggie vibes, gimme the loot. (song by Nicki Minaj)
That’s another way to call money in slang. This term comes from the Italian word mezzo (half). Here is how you can use it in your speech:
I can’t go with you – I don’t have any medza.
I need medza to buy a new phone.
This word is used to describe a stack of paper money. And you can also hear the word tightwad – it means a person who doesn’t like to waste money. For example:
I saw a wad in his wallet.
Don’t tell me that you are broke! I know you have a few wads in your pockets.
- Mad duckets
This is a more colloquial and modern way to say “silly money.” This slang term is used to describe an enormous, crazy amount of money. For example:
I didn’t think it would cost mad duckets.
I’ve bought the tickets to the Harry Styles concert for mad duckets.
- Dead presidents
You might think that it sounds awful, but don’t worry. It is just another widespread term that means dollar bills. This slang expression appeared because of the portraits of the US presidents pictured in the banknotes. Here are some examples of using this popular slang:
Can you give me a few dead presidents? I will return them tomorrow.
I don’t need any dead presidents to be happy.
This term is similar to the previous one. While dead presidents generally mean dollar bills, Benjamins describe only a hundred dollar banknote. For example:
Have you seen Jack? I owe him a few Benjamins.
A couple of Benjamins and some cold beer is everything I need right now.
Bonus! 4 Money idioms to expand your vocabulary
Now that you know enough money slang expressions to use, it is time to take a look at our final topic. Money-related idioms are very popular among native speakers. You can often hear them in movies or TV shows, as well as in usual daily conversations. Below, you will find our favorite money idioms with their meanings and examples.
- To put your money where your mouth is
You can use this idiom to tell someone to spend money or do something instead of just talking about it. Another meaning is to be responsible for your words and actions. For example:
I’m tired of your empty words! It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
I’m not sure about him. I wish he put his money where his mouth is to show his real intentions.
- To save for a rainy day
You are lucky if you know how to save your money for a rainy day. In layman’s terms, this idiom means to hold something (money, food, or other things) for the future, just in case. For example:
My grandmother told me once that it is important to save something for a rainy day.
I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. I have nothing saved for a rainy day.
- To have money to burn
If you have money to burn, on the other hand, you probably don’t have to save for a rainy day. This idiom is used to describe someone with more than enough money to spend on unnecessary things. For example:
I don’t know where she works, but I’m sure she has enough money to burn.
Jane asked me to go shopping with her. She said that she had money to burn that day.
- To live beyond one’s means
Our final idiom in the list has a rather negative meaning. It is usually used to describe a person who spends more money than they can afford. For example:
After I got my unlimited credit card, I started to live beyond my means.
Jack is living beyond his means, and he will regret it one day.
Learning money slang terms with Promova
The English language doesn’t consist of only formal conversations. Native speakers use various colloquial expressions for different situations – dating slang, work slang, slang for money, and much more. And learning such terms is also essential if you want to become fluent. Luckily, we have plenty of options to help you to reach your goals.
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As you can see, there are a lot of different slang names for money. These terms are widespread among natives, and you can often hear them in their conversations. That is why it is important to learn it – at least you won’t be confused next time someone asks you for frogskin. We hope that this article was helpful. And don’t forget to share some of your favorite terms in the comments – we are certain that you also know a few.
Why should I learn money slang?
Learning slang for dollars, as well as many other English slang terms, is essential for various reasons. First, you will significantly expand your vocabulary with new colloquial expressions. Moreover, it will help you talk to native speakers more confidently – you will understand them, and they will understand you. Finally, it’s just fun! We are sure that some of your English-speaking friends will be surprised when you ask them about rhino and frogskins.
What are the most common types of words for money?
The most common words you can use to describe money are banknotes or bills (paper money); coins, dimes, nickels, silvers, coppers (metal money); check (a piece of paper with the amount of money written on it); cash or ready money (money you have on your pocket); change (money you get back after paying more than something costs), and much more.
What are some of the most popular ways to name money in slang?
There are hundreds of money slang terms, and a day won’t be enough to count them all. But the most popular ones are frogskin (slang for dollar), rhino (British slang for cash or ready money), Benjamins (hundreds of dollars), dead presidents (dollars), and much more. All these slang terms are popular in different areas.
What are some of the most popular money idioms in English?
The most widespread money-related idioms are: to cost an arm and a leg (about something expensive) and to put one’s money where one’s mouth is (to be responsible for your words and actions). Other common expressions are to save for a rainy day (to save money for unpredictable circumstances) and money talks (money can solve any problem).