Moolah, Dinero, Cheddar, Bucks . . . there are so many slang words for “money” in the English language! If you are studying English in San Diego or San Francisco, you will probably be shopping often, whether it be buying clothes, souvenirs, or tasty meals at local restaurants. Each of these shopping experiences is an opportunity to use some of these slang words.

How many of these slang words can you incorporate into your vocabulary?

English slang for “money”

Benjamins: a one-hundred-dollar bill (the picture of a famous founding father, Benjamin Franklin, is on the bill)
Bill(s): a one-hundred dollar bill or multiples of one hundred dollars
Bones: dollars
Bucks: dollars (stems from the old price of the hide of a deer, also called a buck)
Cheddar: money
CsC-notes: multiples of one hundred dollars (stems from the Roman numeral for one hundred)
Dime: ten dollars
Dough: money
Five-spots/Fivers: five-dollar bills
Gs: thousand-dollar bills (the “G” is short for a “grand,” which also means one-thousand)
Grand: one thousand dollars
Moola: money
Singles: one-dollar bills
Skrilla: money
Tenners/Ten-spots: ten-dollar bills
Wad: a bundle of paper money

Now that you have all of these slang words for money, how about using them while . . . gambling? (Yes, gambling!) Gambling is illegal in California (which explains why so many Californians love to take a trip to Vegas) yet there are still casinos. How is this possible? The answer is a bit of history, a bit of politics, and very fascinating.


Casino Culture in California

The mistreatment of Native Americans by European settlers  is an incredibly tragic and unfortunate part of U.S. history. Before the New World was “discovered,” Native Americans lived in North, South, and Central America; when the settlers came, everything changed. A large portion of the Native American population was killed, either by war or by the diseases brought from Europe (which the Native Americans were not resistant to).

As a token of apology to the Native Americans, the newly-established United States offered the remaining tribes their own land, free of any U.S. laws. The Native Americans could govern as they pleased by setting their own laws and enforcing them. The Native American tribes of California realized that this means one very interesting thing: these special plots of land, free of U.S. (and California) law, can host the casinos that are illegal in all other parts of the state.

Many Californians take trips to the casinos, which are known for their opulence, their tasty buffets, and their fun shows. Would you like to visit a casino while studying English in San Diego or San Francisco? Check out the San Francisco Casino Guide for a complete list of Bay Area locations and this Guide to San Diego Casinos from the official City of SD website. For a full list of casinos, click here.

Remember to gamble responsibly! (And to use your money slang words while you are playing!)


Cover photo from