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Bangs for your buck

Posted by ESC on December 03, 2003

In Reply to: More Bangs for your Buck posted by Henry on December 03, 2003

: : I've been wondering for years what the literal translation is of this phrase, and it's origination.

: : Can you help?

: : Thanks,
: : Mary Sparks

: More bangs for your buck. Fireworks explode
: over the heads of revelers at the Yenshui Fire Festival. Obviously applicable to firework displays, it's just an emphatic way of saying 'more for your money'.

Fireworks of a kind.

From the archives:

: The phrase, which means 'value for one's money', was originally a political one. Its first use was quite literal: With *bang* referring to 'firepower' or 'weaponry', it really did mean 'bombs for one's money'. The alliteration of *bang* and *buck* helps to make the phrase memorable.
: The earliest confirmed mention of *bang for the buck* is found in 1968 in the first edition of William Safire's *New Language of Politics*. Mr. Safire claims that the phrase was coined in 1954 by Charles E. Wilson, the Secretary of Defense, in reference to the "massive retaliation" policy of John Foster Dulles.
: While *bang* has been used in sexual senses since the seventeenth century, it is unrelated to our phrase. However, since people are always eager to give things sexual connotations whether or not they are called for, some prudence would be a good idea.
: From The Mavens' Word of the Day (Decwmber 19, 1997)@
: ----------
: John Foster Dulles laid the policy of "massive retaliation" ... in 1954 and told the Council on Foreign Relations ... "it is now possible to get, and share, more basic security and less cost." Defense Security Charles E. Wilson promptly dubbed the policy the "New Look" ... and said it would provide a "bigger bank for a buck." (Safire, _New Language of Politics_, 1968)

A BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK - "A better value for one's money. This term dates from 1954, when it specifically meant more efficient use of defense appropriations, relying mainly on nuclear deterrents. The 'bang' here alludes to a nuclear explosion. It was U.S. Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson who said this new policy would provide 'a bigger bang for the buck.' The phrase subsequently was applied to civilian issues involving a better value. It echoes an older advertising slogan for a carbonated soft drink, 'More bounce to the ounce.'" From "Fighting Words: From War, Rebellion, and other Combative Capers" by Christine Ammer (NTC Publishing Group, Chicago, Ill., 1989, 1999).