Do you ever think of the common words we use around personal finance? Words like debt, money, cash, credit, and retirement. We use them often when talking personal finance, and honestly, we really don’t give them a second thought because we understand them and thief definitions.
English is my primary language and I never learned a second, although I did attempt French in high school and German in college.
Why I made those language choices is still unclear to me, I probably should have stuck to Spanish, the advice I have given to my three children and all three are in honors Spanish and have mastered a second language far beyond their dads two attempts.
In This Article
Common Money Terms in Different Languages
I thought it might be interesting to see the commonly used word in English and see them in different languages. This is the language of money.
Debt – deuda
Money – dinero
Cash – efectivo
Credit – credito
Retirement – jubilacion
Debt – schuld
Money – geld
Cash – bargeld
Credit – kredit
Retirement – ruhestand
Money – argent
Cash – especes
Credit – reputation
Retirement – retraite
Debt – debito
Money – soldi
Cash – contanti
Credit – credito
Retirement – ritiro
Now I don’t recall any of the French or German words from my time spent in class. The only word that is familiar on the list is the Spanish word for money, dinero. That’s a word I’ve heard used often and I understand its origin.
Now money itself (bill and coins) has many nicknames or slang terms to describe them. Money slang usually various from currency type because often the slang terms are derived from the appearance of the bills or coins themselves.
Here are some of the slang terms used in the United States:
- Almighty dollar
- big bucks
- bill, bones
- dead presidents
- hard cash
- legal tender
I have greenbacks stuck in my head I think from my history lessons in school. I need to work the following slang terms into more conversations when talking about money, clams, gravy, and lettuce.
Do you have a favorite money word in a different language? What’s your favorite slang money word?
Brian is a Dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. A Personal Finance Blogger since 2013. Who, with his family, has successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt. Now that Brian is debt-free, his mission is to help his three children prepare for their financial lives and educate others to achieved financial success. Brian is involved in his local community. As a Financial Committee Chair with the Board of Education of his local school district, he has helped successfully launch a K-12 financial literacy program in a six thousand student district.
25 thoughts on “The Language of Money: Money Terms in Different Languages”
I always ask my husband if he brought the cheddar because it cracks me up. Also, anytime I have cash (like even one dollar), I am tempted to make it rain. I am very immature when it comes to handling non-digitized money.
lol Hannah. I might have to try the cheddar line on my children, but afraid they’ll just bring me cheese. 🙁
In Ukrainian it’s “hroshi”:)
It’s interesting that “credit” in French is “reputation”. Kind of makes sense. When I refer to money, I often use the hand signal of rubbing my fingers and thumb together. Or cha-ching. 🙂
I use those too.
It is interesting how many of the words for money have to do with food: cheddar, lettuce, dough, gravy, bread, clams, chips.
I don’t know what meaning that holds, but an interesting observation!
Maybe because we spend so much money on food. 🙂
Hmm i though credit in Spanish was “credito” and abonar in money terms was making a payment. I love how cash sounds ins Spanish “efectivo” lol I’ve used it so much with my friends they were forced to learn what it means.
I checked with my Spanish experts and you are correct Mike. Abonar = pay. Thanks for the catch. I may have to try that one too.
I like the Spanish word for retirement: “jubilacion” My concept of retirement is jubilation too : )
lol, a great way to look at it!
I’m sure there’s a lot more words for money that many cultures use in day to day conversations. For example Chabo, is a slang word for change in many Spanish speaking countries. Good luck learning Spanish Brian.
Agreed, the slang word are endless. Thanks EL!
I love “bringing home the bacon”! (And I just love bacon!)
I tried German in college, too. That’s one difficult language to learn!
You can’t go wrong with bacon!
“Lui” is money in Cambodian. It’s personified for us English-speakers!
So many languages!
A nice roundup, my friend. I’ll go with Benjamins.
Hopefully you’re building a large stack of them.
Someone I knew years ago called money (or dollars in particular) “smackaroonis”. That one always stuck in my mind!
“smackaroonis” is one I’ve heard before too. Now I’ll have it stuck in my head.
That’s a neat list, thanks for sharing. I like to use “dough”
What’s interesting is that how we refer to money (Almighty dollar, assets, bank, banknote, bankroll, Benjamin’s, etc.) might just tell a lot about how we manage it.
Kind of along the lines of how are habitual vovabulary, the words we choose to use without even realizing it (bc we can only choose so many words to describe a feeling) make us a certain way. So it’s often not the feeling that provoked the words but the words that provoked the feelings.
You may be on to something here!
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