In God we trust — all others cash only

Discussion in 'English Only' started by kenny4528, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Mandarin, Taiwan

    Is following sentence a common saying in English?

    I came across this sentence given by a non-native elsewhere on-line, who said this is a known phrasing in the states, and there seems to have some hits on Google but I cannot find its explicit definition over the net. Do you know the intended meaning of this phrasing?
  2. mtmjr

    mtmjr Senior Member

    California/Ohio (US)
    English (US)
    I can't say I've heard this phrase before, but logically, I think it means that whomever is saying it inherently trusts only God. If you are anyone other than God, then the only thing the speaker will trust from you is your money. It's rather sarcastic.
  3. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Hi, mtmjr. So it makes sense to you? I originally thought that guy might make it up because another guy said he have never heard of it in the U.S.
  4. mtmjr

    mtmjr Senior Member

    California/Ohio (US)
    English (US)
    Well I did say that I've not ever heard it, but I read it and deduced its meaning. It makes sense, I just don't know exactly where it would be used.
  5. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Thank you very much for your kind reply.
  6. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    U.K. English
    I've never seen the phrase before, but I like it. It's very funny. Basically it means we don't trust anyone.

    I can imagine seeing it on a sign above a counter in a shop as a funny alternative to "We don't give credit". Having said that I see no reason why it couldn't be used more metaphorically (i.e. not in direct relation to money). I might put it on a T-shirt.
  7. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    I've heard it once previously.
    Basically it is a funny one-liner, something which shopkeepers might put up in their shops to discourage credit.
    Instead of writing a rude message saying Cash Please or No credit, this is a slightly more humorous and tongue-in-cheek message.

    A more common version is:

    In God, we trust; everyone else must pay cash.

    Funnily enough, I read it originally in French

    Nous avons confiance en Dieu, tous les autres doit payer comptant.

    EDIT: Ah, liliput, you beat me to it! :(
  8. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Thank you very much, too.
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    It's not uncommon to see a small, postcard-sized paper or a small wooden sign with this saying on the side of a cash register in a small town here in the U.S.

    Here are a few examples:

    I have always imagined it was a way of saying that the store did not extend credit or offer to run a tab for regular customers. When I was younger this was still not unusual to find in small towns. It was a very informal way of offering credit, often with amounts written down on a notepad or in a small book. The only place I personally encounter this anymore is with catering trucks that come to offices. Many of the owners will run a tab for regular customers.

    It has a double meaning in the U.S. since "In God We Trust" is printed on our currency. :)
  10. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    "In God We Trust" is the national motto of the United States (so Congress decided in 1956), and has appeared on US paper currency since 1957.
  11. Yes - I've seen it over the counter of stores which do not allow customers to run up a tab.

    My preferred version is In God we trust. All others pay cash.

  12. El escoces Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    English - UK
    Yes, I also assumed it was using the US motto and then playing on it to create a fun way of indicating a zero-credit store policy. Illuminatus and liliput had it spot on.

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