Buck = $100?


Senior Member
German/English bilingual
I see from some threads that "buck", which normally means "dollar" (when it doesn't mean something else altogether) is sometimes used in AE as slang for "hundred", for example if the temperature is 110 degrees, or if someone weighs 110 pounds, they'd say "a buck ten". It makes cents sense, in a perverse sort of way, I suppose.

It seems rather odd, though, to use it to mean a hundred dollars, and I was wondering how wide-spread this practice was.

Quote: The Boost 4G will run (=cost) you about five hundred dollars, though, and the antenna another buck and a quarter, so it's not a cheap setup.

Source and context: A youtube video in which a native AE-speaker is discussing devices for extending the range of cellphones when you're on a boat, several miles from the nearest phone mast. It's obvious that he means "$125", not "$1.25".
  • A thread in the French forum discussed this meaning for 'buck': buck and a half
    Enough of the discussion is in English for the discussion to be accessible to people who do not understand the French.

    They found 'buck' meaning 100 in reference to speed.
    It's not really saying it's a hundred but 1.something. A buck and a quarter is $1.25 yes, but if you were talking in hundreds then another 125 is like saying it's 1.25 hundred. If you weigh a 110 pounds then you weigh 1.10hundred.
    So ... could an AmE-speaker explain what is meant by Edinburgher's
    The Boost 4G will run (=cost) you about five hundred dollars, though, and the antenna another buck and a quarter, so it's not a cheap setup.
    How much will the antenna cost? Is it, as Edinburgh says, $500 + $125?
    I personally have never heard the slang term "a buck" used to mean any other value than one dollar.
    For me, one hundred bucks = $100.
    One buck = $1.
    If someone were to tell me that something cost "a buck and a quarter," I would understand the cost to be $1.25.
    If the first item cost $500, I think it'd be more likely that the second would cost $125, not $1.25.

    By the way, $100 or a $100 bill is sometimes called a "yard", and $100/200 etc. and $1,000/2,000 etc., are sometimes called "one (etc.) small" and "one (etc.) large", respectively.

    I once heard a baseball player (Darryl Strawberry) who was getting off to a poor start batting say "I'm only hitting a buck-ninety (I have a batting average of only .190)".
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    Well, I'd say it's not the most common slang but was immediately understandable to me. I think the context makes it understandable.
    While a "buck" is a dollar, a dollar is made up of 100 cents. Thus, if something costs "a buck [x]", it would mean "one dollar and X cents".
    "A buck twenty-five" = one dollar and 25 cents, which can also be said as "one twenty-five".
    It is that last meaning which explains both the usage described by Edinburgher and the quote of Darrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyylllll (those with memories of Shea Stadium will understand;)) given in post #7. "One twenty-five" can mean either one dollar and twenty five cents (a buck twenty-five), or one hundred twenty-five of something. Clearly, the antenna adds $125 to the price, but it is amusing slang to speak of one hundred twenty-five dollars as if they were one hundred twenty-five cents. In the case of Mr. Strawberry's statistics, he was actually hitting only 19% of the time that he was at bat, but the standard way of saying that statistic in baseball is as if the fraction were a whole number -- for example, a hitter with the excellent batting average of .400 would be said to be hitting "four hundred." Strawberry's average was then "one ninety." Batting averages below .200 are not very good, and so Strawberry's description of his .190 average as "a buck ninety" is both understandable as slang for "one ninety", and dismissive of the low number.