What does "a buck three-eighty-two" mean?

I had a teacher in high school who, whenever someone asked a stupid question, would say “a buck three-eighty-two.” I once asked him what it meant, and he just looked at me in a weird way, as if I should have known what he was talking about, and changed the subject. Another time I asked him about it, he told me to look it up.

I am puzzled and baffled by this phrase. “A buck three-eighty-two.” At least that’s what I think he was saying.

To give some background: the guy was a former steelworker, and had also worked as a delivery courier for a handgun shop. The class he taught was law education. He was a crime buff and obsessed with criminology and legal studies.

What did this cryptic phrase mean? Was it something from the lingo of one of these subcultures that he was involved in?

Her is something like it:


It means something indeterminate or an amount that is nonsensical.

Heh, we say “A dollar two eighty-nine” although I haven’t a clue how that got started. It’s a nonsense amount, completely meaningless.

Say you’re on your way to someone’s house and give the “anything we need picked up?” call, you stop for beer and they ask how much they owe you but you don’t want the payback so it’s $1-2.89 instead of the real amount.

I always heard it as “a buck-two-forty”.

Wasn’t this a joke on Hee Haw? Junior Sales car lot?

…or how 'bout, “Eleventy-three”?

Price of gas on the long weekend


Dont Think Jimmy Neutron can Compete with Junior Samples.

I always use “a dollar two ninety eight”. I have no idea where I got it from.

It doesnt have any connection with subcultures :slight_smile: buck three eighty two

I asked a similar question a while back, about Billy Joel’s phrase “a buck three eighty won’t buy you much lately on the street these days” in the song “Borderline” (off Glass Houses), but it was apparently long enough ago that the thread is no longer available on the boards. The discussion was interesting but inconclusive.

The way to say 183 in German (translated, of course) is “one hundred three and eighty.” Whether this is true for other languages, I don’t know, but’s it’s not hard to imagine an immigrant who has learned the English words but still uses the idomatic word order of his native tongue. From there it’s a small step to saying “a dollar three eighty” or “a buck three eighty” when referring to $1.83.

Naturally, this would sound odd to a native English speaker, maybe even nonsensical. Human nature being what it is, people would make fun of it, even exaggerating the nonsensical aspect by expanding it to “a buck three eighty-two.”

So it started out as a blend of English words with German (or other language) word order, and morphed into a way of expressing silliness.

That sounds very plausible. But minus any cite, this sentence probably needs a “likely,” “probably,” or “potentially.”

Well you can give a reasonable answer to that one of 113, and I doubt it can be considered any other value if it is to have a determined value.
Tenty = 100
Twelvetyfour = 124
Twentyfourtyfour = 244

Whilst a buck three-eight-two can be extrapolated in several ways with no espescially reasonable value to assign it $383 or $14 $4.82 or $1.13 or $1.38 . 2 (petrol price maybe)

Myself when anyone would ask how much did you pay for that I’d reply A buck tree eight and I always got the same answer…what

Most of these nonsense expressions seem to begin with a buck, because when we are using the term buck seriously, it’s only for even dollar amounts–except for prices between $1.00 and $2.00.

So we’ll say a buck thirty-five ($1.35), but not *two bucks thirty-five ($2.35), or *six bucks thirty-five ($6.35). We’ll say two hundred bucks ($200), but not *two hundred bucks seventy-five ($200.75).

Can a zombie get more from the buck 382 due to infalation in 10- 17 years ?

(First on this board here http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=8112 )
From http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/a_dollar_three_eighty
Jazz composer Stan Kenton had a song titled “Opus a dollar three-eighty” in 1944. The term appears to date to at least 1931.

“A buck three-eighty” has been in use since at least 1972.

Bilbo Baggins celebrated his “eleventy-first” birthday when he turned 111. The word “eleventy”, while quaint and often used tongue-in-cheek is not nonsense.

And in a similar vein, I think it was Wilt Chamberlain who gave his height as “six foot thirteen.”

“A couple farthings short of a league” – Bored of the Rings, Harvard Press, 1973 (?)

That’s the distance between the Mines of Doria and Mines Trone, as calculated by Goodgulf, the grey gonzo wizard

This all makes me think of a “four-eleven” differential, on which the pinion-to-axle drive ratio was 4.1:1…