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Five spot

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 15, 2008 at 02:11

In Reply to: Five spot posted by RRC on September 14, 2008 at 20:57:

: : : What is the origin of five spot or ten spot? It is a way of asking to spot money or borrow money?

: : : Ex.
: : : Ted: Can I get a five spot from you?
: : : Gina: Sure thing Ted. $5 coming your way.

: : It's an American usage, and just means a bill of that denomination in dollars, regardless of how it's used. Without context, a five-spot, for example, or a fiver, would mean money in that denomination. You could also have a ten-spot or a tenner, but you would probably not hear anyone speak of a hundred-spot or a hundreder (which is a C-note), nor a fifty-spot or fiftier. That normally would be called "a fifty," just as there's no twentyer, but rather "a twenty." "Twenty-spot" has been heard, but is probably somewhat rare.

: : I don't know why "spot," although it could be thought of as analogous to the (e.g.) five-spot playing card, which actually has five pips.

: : According to the OED, the expression has been in use at least since 1846.
: : SS

: Not sure where Smokey is, but fiver and tenner are British 5 and 10 pound notes as far as I know. I haven't heard that used of US currency. Five-spot is rather out of date though people sometimes use it in a joking fashion much like calling a quarter (25 cent piece) 2 bits.

You've got me. I have no idea whether fiver and tenner are ever used in the U.S. As far as five-spot is concerned, people sometimes see out-of-date usages in what they read, but I imagine it's best to head them off before they go around talking about five-spots and ten-spots. I've been around for so long that antique slang doesn't sound antique to me.