buck and quid

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buck and quid

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Apr 15, 2004 12:58 pm

A buck is a male rabbit. How did it become slang for a dollar? Likewise a quid was a piece of chewing tobacco. How did it become slang for a pound? I am sure somebody out there will come up with the answers before I research elsewhere.
Submitted by Melvyn Goodman (London - England)
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buck and quid

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:13 pm

From The Straight Dope at: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_179.html
The leading theory at the moment is that buck comes from an old practice in poker. ... A more plausible theory is that buck is short for buckskin, a common medium of exchange in trading with the Indians.
From The Word Detective (Dec 20, 1999) at: http://www.word-detective.com/122099.html#quid
"Quid" has been used as slang for "pound" since the late 17th century, but no one really knows why. It may be that "quid" was adopted as a bit of clever slang based on its Latin meaning of "what," perhaps as a shortened form of an oblique slang phrase such as "what one needs" (i.e., money). Or it may be that it comes from a misunderstanding (or humorous spin on) the phrase "quid pro quo" (as in "Here's your quo, where's my quid?"). Personally, I lean toward the second theory, but we may never know for sure.

Reply from Susumu Enomoto (Shiraokamachi - Japan)
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buck and quid

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:27 pm

A buck is the name often applied to the male of many species, especially a male deer (at least in the U.S.). The theory that "buck" (a dollar) comes from the buckskins (deerskins) sometimes used as money on the American frontier is discredited by some "experts" because the practice so long predates the appearance of "buck" as a dollar in the American language. At least in print. The OED traces buck/dollar back to 1856. That's at least 100 to 150 years after things like furs and skins were the equivalent of money. But it's such a tidy explanation, I'm sure it will be with us forever.

Linda, San Diego, CA, USA
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buck and quid

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:41 pm

Consult the 'Ask the Wordwizard' section for more about the origins of 'buck'.

As Frances Trollope once observed after her memorable journey through America, there is one word that almost no conversation between two Americans fails to include. Naturally, that word is 'dollar'.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
[Also see Pass the buck-- Forum Admin.]
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