"buck" meaning dollar

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Dec 4 15:58:30 UTC 2006

OED buck n.8 "slang (org. and chiefly U.S.)" "Origin obscure" (1856)

1854   History of the State of Ohio: First Period, 1650-1787 By James Wickes
Taylor  (Cincinnati and Sandusky, 1854) p. 297:

The English said we should buy everything of them, and since we had got saucy,
we should give two bucks fot a blanket (superscript 3) which we used to
get for
one: we should do as they pleased, and they killed some of our people to make
the rest fear them.

(footnote 3) The skin of a buck was "legal tender," in the wilderness, for a

1851 Historical Collections of Ohio: Containing a Collection of the Most
Interesting Facts,... (Cincinnati) By Henry Howe p.274:

A muskrat skin wasequal to a quarter of a dollar; a racoon skin, a third of a
dollar; a doe skin, half a dollar, and a buck skin, "the almighty dollar."

1824 Sketches of the History, Manners, and Customs of the North
American Indians
By James Buchanan p. 204:

each buck-skin, one dollar

Stephen Goranson

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

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