Heard this morning on NPR

David Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Sat Aug 11 13:35:21 UTC 2012

Not recorded elsewhere in dictionaries, thus appropriate for the Dictionary
Companion.  Heard on It's Only a Game:

boutonniere money, {w} a trifling sum of money; insignificant amount of
money.  Nonstandard (used in slang contexts dealing especially with
economics; infrequent?)

In this building, Dennis Kozlowski isn't a serial spendthrift who turned his
home into part Hearstian Xanadu, part Ali Baba's den of thieves. In this
building, Dennis Kozlowski is a penny-pinching miser.

Six-thousand dollars for a shower curtain?

Boutonniere money! Gersh Kuntzman, "The Rich Are Different," Newsweek
(Nexis), Sept. 30, 2002, p not given

This is especially true among veteran stars like Payton and Malone, who lack
only an NBA championship on their career CVs. Leaving your longtime employer
in order to take your last shot at a championship "and doing so for what is
essentially boutonniere money" now is an accepted NBA rite of passage.
Charles P. Pierce, "Showtime, Part XXXI," Slate Magazine (Nexis), July 30,
2003, p not given

Peter Sagal: It's expensive to provide him a tank with internet access, but
at the same time, he has agreed to take his annual bonus in krill.

Peter Sagal: Now Mitt Romney was asked about this, and he said...

Charlie Pierce: He said that's Saturday night, what are you talking about?

Peter Sagal: No, no...

Charlie Pierce: It[?s] boutonniere money, my friend.

Peter Sagal: Yeah. No, Mitt Romney said-he actually said this, he says it's
OK, because if Chase lost three billion dollars, then somebody else earned
three billion dollars.  "The Wait Wait Upfronts," Wait Wait ... Don't Tell
Me! on NPR [National Public Radio], May 19, 2012, p not given

Composite (compound): formed from boutonniere (OED: 1877), meaning "a flower
for a buttonhole," + money (OED: c1390), as in fractional money (DA: 1930),
meaning "paper money in small denominations."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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