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04-07-1999, 07:05 PM
Of course my guess is as good as yours..but I took the phrase "a buck three-eighty" to mean $1.83. Perhaps?

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~*brandie*~
"Free thinkers are dangerous."~Serj

04-07-1999, 08:46 PM
I've always heard the phrase "a buck-two-fifty" and I just assumed it meant a small amount of money.

How much did that cost?

Ah, a buck-two-fifty.

I could be totally wrong, though.

Jeff

04-07-1999, 10:11 PM
I don't know that it means any specific amount. It's just a phrase that means an indeterminate amount of money. A lot of New Yorkers use it, I think, when they don't know an amount and don't wanna be bothered. Seeing it in writing is not the same as having someone with a thick Bronx accent brush you off with "a buck three-eighty, pal."


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The Dave-Guy
"since my daughter's only half-Jewish, can she go in up to her knees?" J.H. Marx

04-07-1999, 10:24 PM
Oh wow! I didn't know anyone else used that expression! My Dad (born and raised in NE Mass.) has been saying "A dollar three-eighty" for as long as I can remember and he claims he made it up. Or a friend of his made it up. Or maybe it was a friend of a friend.... Hmmmmmm........


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"For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes" - Francis Bacon

04-08-1999, 01:19 AM
This must be an East Coast thing, because I've never heard it out here on the Pacific. I was first exposed to the phrase "a buck three-eighty" in Billy Joel's song "Close to the Borderline" from the "Glass Houses" album, and I wondered what it meant.

The exact lines are:

A buck three-eighty won't buy you much lately
On the street these days
And when you can get gas you know you can't drive fast
Any more on the parkways

Since then, I've seen or heard strange monetary expressions like that in the context of mid-to-north-Atlantic Coast urbanites, and I've never understood what it's supposed to mean.

Is it a transposition of the first two words, i.e. "buck three" means "three bucks," so the whole phrase means $3.80? Or is the "eighty" an expression, and it really means $1.38? Or does it mean something else entirely? Where did it come from? Is it still commonly used? Is there a Noo Yawker or anyone else who can enlighten me?

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"I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."

04-08-1999, 01:54 AM
Well, I imagine it's not strictly an East Coast thing, as my father says "a buck three eighty-five" and he grew up in Wisconsin. And at least one of my uncles (one of his brothers) uses it also.

Perhaps it means a buck plus $3.85 (or whatever variation is used)? Or perhaps $1.385, using fractions of a cent--and thus a buck three eighty would be $1.380 and a buck two fifty would be $1.250.

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nuqDaq yuch Dapol? (Where do you keep the chocolate?)

04-08-1999, 12:24 PM
My friends and I have used variations on this before ... "A buck, two fifty" ... to describe a niddling amount of money.

As far as I'm aware, it's two separate amounts (One dollar and two-and-a-half dollars) that indicate not only a miniscule and irrelevant amount of money, but the fact that the expense didn't matter much to you.

So, like "It cost a buck, or two-fifty, or something. Whatever."

I didn't even make the connection between "buck three eighty" and "buck two fifty" until MilroyJ mentioned it. This thread had me baffled 'til then :)

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-An epistle most prosaic, courtesy of Calamity Jon.
Jon can be seen swinging from trees at ape-law.com (http://ape-law.com)

04-08-1999, 04:17 PM
I once saw the term in a book of brain-teasers. It was a semantics trick, where "a buck two-fifty" actually meant "a buck, AND two-fifty." That is, $3.50.

This was similar to the number "eleven thousand, eleven hundred, and eleven." Which is written 11,211.

04-09-1999, 09:56 PM
Uh, Eleven thousand, eleven hundred, and eleven would be 12,111, not 11,211. Am I missing something?

04-11-1999, 10:48 PM
I just had to get in on this one...

In the Red River Valley (where Fargo is found), the phrase is known as "a buck two-ninety-eight." Obviously, we can conclude that Fargo prices are much lower than in Billy Joel's neighborhood.

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"Write a wise saying and your name will live forever." - Anonymous

OldBroad
11-05-1999, 09:20 PM
Old Chicago area expression "a buck two ninety eight"

Beruang
11-05-1999, 10:15 PM
Chicago. High school. Mid-'70s. "A buck-three-eighty" was commonplace. As others have noted, it's basically a brush-off, meaning "I dunno, a small amount, what's it to ya?" As teenagers, we considered it the height of wit. As adults, we consider it the height of teenage wit.

11-06-1999, 12:42 AM
I've never heard "a buck three-eighty." Around here, we use "a nickel ninety-five" to mean the same thing, a small amount of money.

-Melin

AuraSeer
11-06-1999, 12:43 AM
My math was right; I just made a typo. So sue me. =B^p

Mr. Sheepshead
11-08-1999, 01:46 AM
I've always used it as in "I have no clue how much but you can afford it." And I've heard (in Wisconsin) a buck two-thirty and a buck two-fifty.

Mojo
11-08-1999, 09:11 AM
Like MarkMal, I've only heard the expression from my dad and it was always a dollar three eighty. He used it when I was a kid and he didn't want to say how much something cost.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
11-08-1999, 10:31 AM
Just to give in my 2 (or 4 half-cents--hmm, forshadowing), up until the mid 1800's there was a coint the half-cent.

So, if this is an old expression, it could have its roots in a time when three-decimal prices were commonplace.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
11-08-1999, 10:33 AM
And this is what it looks like when it has been proofread:

Just to give in my 2 (or 4 half-cents--hmm, foreshadowing), up until the mid 1800's there was a coin the half-cent.
So, if this is an old expression, it could have its roots in a time when three-decimal prices were commonplace.

Sorry.

moriah
11-10-1999, 03:26 AM
Argh.

It's just sophomoric wit.

Like calling someone and asking for their phone number.

It's just a verbal equivalent of an Escher drawing. It begins one way, but ends in a contradictory way, but overall, looks like it's supposed to go together.

The purpose is to confuse people, and I can see by this thread, it has worked. :)

If Billy Joel is using it in some other fashion like it has a special meaning, he's a twit (besides, he's run out of originality long, long, long ago -- uptown girl, indeed!).

Peace.

11-10-1999, 10:10 AM
Thats what a grown deer(buck) weighs. ;)

JBDivmstr
09-14-2011, 03:27 AM
Oh nooooo, it's still ALIVE! Quick! Somebody shoot it in the head, for Og's sake!

My Dad always said, "two six bits". (He was born and raised in North Central Louisiana.)
Technically, that would amount to $1.50. :rolleyes:

Remember the jingle/rhyme, "Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar..."?

Derleth
09-14-2011, 03:43 AM
Maybe if we give it the tree-fiddy it'll go away.

chorpler
09-14-2011, 04:45 AM
Was this resurrected by a spammer or something?

Wendell Wagner
09-14-2011, 06:36 AM
This is probably not only the oldest zombie thread ever revived, it comes close to being the oldest one that ever could be revived, since it was started only about a month after the SDMB began.

Darth Panda
09-14-2011, 06:40 AM
Maybe if we give it the tree-fiddy it'll go away.

Well, it was at about that time that I realized that this thread was actually the GOD-DAMNED Loch Ness Monster.

Shodan
09-14-2011, 08:06 AM
I thought "a buck three-eighty" was a logically contradictory phrase meaning "nonsense". I thought it was a Milwaukee-ism, along with "on the corner of 25th and Jabirdie".

Actually, it was more "a buck tree-eighty". Down by where the street car bends the corner 'round, aina?

Regards,
Shodan from 'Sconsin

drewtwo99
09-14-2011, 11:44 AM
I can't believe I didn't realize I was reading such an ancient thread until it was too late. But I have never heard any of these phrases so it has been very educational.

Pitchmeister
09-14-2011, 11:48 AM
Wasn't the absence of a user name a clue?

MikeF
09-14-2011, 02:27 PM
I've also heard "a nickel ninety-five", "a quarter point two" and "eleventy three".

pulykamell
09-14-2011, 02:33 PM
Old Chicago area expression "a buck two ninety eight"

"Coupla two tree bucks" is another common expression around here for the same thing.

cochrane
09-14-2011, 02:59 PM
Maybe if we give it the tree-fiddy it'll go away.

Damn it! You know if you give it the tree-fiddy it's never gonna go away. It'll just keep coming back.

JBDivmstr
09-14-2011, 05:11 PM
Was this resurrected by a spammer or something?

Spammer?! A most emphatic, NOT! I am offended by the accusation, sir.
I request a retraction of the allegation, or I shall be forced to challenge you to
pistols at ten paces, in the courtyard square come the dawn. :mad:

panache45
09-14-2011, 07:18 PM
I have never heard any of these phrases. But I once had a boss who said "It's a half o' six o' one, two dozen of another." Yes, he was an idiot; he actually thought that's how the phrase went.

(At least he wasn't a zombie.)

Gary Robson
09-15-2011, 12:35 PM
We've received quite a few thread reports on this old zombie, so I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone of the zombie policy. Post #4 in the FAQ - Guidelines and Etiquette on the SDMB (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=384745) says:

- In Comments on Cecil's Columns, Comments on Staff Reports, Games Room, General Questions, and Straight Dope Chicago: We're less concerned about resurrected threads. The reasons we dislike zombie threads don't usually apply. We'll generally leave such threads open, unless there is some compelling reason for taking moderator action(emphasis mine)

When a spammer reopens a zombie, we'll typically delete the spammer's post (or hide it), which drops the zombie back down in the list where it was. When a member revives one just to post "me, too" or to argue with someone who hasn't been online in six years, we will ask them not to do that, and sometimes lock the thread.

But every now and then, we have a conversation like this one, which was picked up 12 years later as if it had never stopped; where the new posts have no less to offer than the old ones. There's no "compelling reason" to close it, so we let it live.

Thanks for the thread reports, though. It's always better to get a report we don't need than to miss a problem!

JBDivmstr
09-15-2011, 01:13 PM
With all due respect, (and apologies, if the powers that be, think I should) I don't feel that I brought that zombie back to life with a "new posts that had less to offer than the old ones".
(bolding is my paraphrasing, of part of the mod's post)

My post was on topic and was not a "me too", nor a repetition or slight variation of a previous post. (I read the entire thread before I posted, although I did neglect to note that it was, well... ancient. :D)
Kindly pardon the noob faux pas.:smack:

Since it seems to have wound someone's panties into a knot, :rolleyes: I'll endeavour to refrain from resurrecting the dead, in the future.

Cartoonacy
09-15-2011, 05:26 PM
I don't feel that I brought that zombie back to life with a "new posts that had less to offer than the old ones".


Pardon me for interrupting, but what he actually said was "the new posts have no less to offer than the old ones." That's a good thing.

isaiahrobinson
09-15-2011, 05:47 PM
In West Coast gang culture putting "a buck fifty" across someone's face means cutting them right down across the face with a razor, often from the ear to the corner of the mouth, leaving a scar. The guy who plays Omar Little in the Wire, Michael K. Williams, has a buck fifty scar across his face as shown in this photo (http://quietlunch.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/tumblr_kyb1fzlzl81qa42jro1_500.jpg).

I don't know if that usage is even remotely relevant but I thought I'd mention it...

Gary Robson
09-15-2011, 08:15 PM
With all due respect, (and apologies, if the powers that be, think I should) I don't feel that I brought that zombie back to life with a "new posts that had less to offer than the old ones".
(bolding is my paraphrasing, of part of the mod's post)

My post was on topic and was not a "me too", nor a repetition or slight variation of a previous post. (I read the entire thread before I posted, although I did neglect to note that it was, well... ancient. :D)
Kindly pardon the noob faux pas.:smack:

Since it seems to have wound someone's panties into a knot, :rolleyes: I'll endeavour to refrain from resurrecting the dead, in the future.
As Cartoonacy already mentioned, you completely misread my post -- taking from it exactly the opposite of what I said.

JBDivmstr
09-15-2011, 08:20 PM
Pardon me for interrupting, but what he actually said was "the new posts have no less to offer than the old ones." That's a good thing.

You are absolutely correct, sir. :smack:

I humbly offer a sincere apology to the Mod and the board in general, for that transgression. :(

I still stand behind this part of my post, though. :)
My post was on topic and was not a "me too", nor a repetition or slight variation of a previous post.

dropzone
09-15-2011, 10:53 PM
A "buck" is a variable quantity. I've seen it used to mean anything from one dollar to, in an actual verbal quote in a professional setting, a million dollars. I would default to "a buck three-eighty" equaling $1380, but I'd ask for clarification.

ClevelandProud
09-17-2011, 12:51 AM
buck three eighty

A pittance, or the amount that one lacks in order to purchase a local busfare.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=buck%20three%20eighty

world12
09-17-2011, 02:26 AM
Well, I imagine it's not strictly an East Coast thing, as my father says "a buck 3 eighty-five" and he grew up in Wisconsin. And on the very least one of my uncles (one of his brothers) utilizes it also. contemplating that then, I've observed or observed odd monetary expressions like that in your context of mid-to-north-Atlantic Coast urbanites, and I've in no way understood what it's designed to mean.













































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theme shoes Cease to struggle and you cease to live. -- Thomas Carlyle

Zeldar
09-17-2011, 09:18 AM
I see the words and they don't understand me.

Crazyhorse
09-17-2011, 09:23 AM
I think the comment was intended for this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=8112).

Zeldar
09-17-2011, 09:25 AM
I think the comment was intended for this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=8112).

Ah, so!

Al Bundy
09-17-2011, 10:16 AM
Yes, I don't what you said well.

KneadToKnow
09-17-2011, 10:42 AM
Reported for merging.

Gary Robson
09-17-2011, 11:12 AM
Accidental new thread merged with existing reanimated zombie thread.

BigT
09-18-2011, 09:20 AM
I honestly think the expression is stupid. It doesn't communicate anything that any other random assortment of currencies couldn't, as indicated by the number of variations. It sounds like something my old drunk ex-uncle would say. You'd tell him that he was so funny because you knew that's what he wanted, but secretly be wondering if the constant boozing had broken his brain.

Is this seriously still in use?

Elendil's Heir
09-18-2011, 12:10 PM
Neither my wife (born and raised in Vermont) nor I (born and raised in Ohio) had heard this phrase before. I would've assumed "a buck three-eighty" was slang for "a miscellaneous small wad of cash and coins" (i.e. "a coupla bucks") or $4.80 (one dollar plus three dollars plus eighty cents in change).

Ignorance fought.

Smeghead
09-18-2011, 09:00 PM
Accidental new thread merged with existing reanimated zombie thread.

That's how The Virus got started, you know.

Siam Sam
09-18-2011, 09:04 PM
Never heard this phrase before. Grew up in Texas and lived in the Southwest and Hawaii.

JBDivmstr
09-21-2011, 11:49 PM
Never heard this phrase before. Grew up in Texas and lived in the Southwest and Hawaii.

Since I'm the one that resurrected this monster, I kind of feel (a little bit) obligated to continue participating.

I started this mess with the observation that my dear old Dad, used the phrase "two six bits". Upon rereading the entire thread (again), I feel I ought to add that I've queried him about whether he had ever used the term "a buck three-eighty" or "a buck 3 eighty-five", or if he could recall having heard it(them) being used. He responded, "No, can't say I have."

Like Siam Sam, I was (born and) raised in Texas and had never heard the term 'buck three-eighty/eighty five' being used, nor had I ever heard any of my multitudinous kinfolk in Louisiana (where my father and mother are from) use it, either. Just sayin'... :D

Gary T
09-22-2011, 12:22 AM
A buck/dollar three-eighty is $1.83. The word sequence is exactly how numbers are spoken in German. Instead of saying eighty-three, Germans say three and eighty (in German, of course). For one hundred eighty-three, they say one hundred three and eighty. I imagine it's the same in Yiddish, and no surprise it's common in New York City. Somewhere along the way, the "and" got left out.