29 December 2010

Funny Video: Esurance TV Commercial – $522 Bucks (and other slang terms for money!)

Here’s another TV commercial I saw airing on American television while I’m home this Christmas.

Unlike the French, Americans like to talk about money so it’s no surprise we have a lot of slang and idiomatic terms for it!


  • THE SAVER: 522 bucks (= dollars. Derived from the word ‘buckskin.’ In colonial America, the English wanted fur and they traded goods with the Native Americans for buckskin.) -- that's what people save, on average, when they call me to switch to Esurance.
  • FIRST GIRL: If they switch to Esurance online, they could save 522 clams (= dollars. Native Americans on the west coast of North America strung clamshells [des coquilles de palourde] into strings of money).
  • THE SAVER: I could save 'em 522 smackers. (= dollars. Sometimes said ‘smackeroo.’ Dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and comes from the notion of something being ‘smacked’ into the palm of the hand; the sound made as the dollar is slapped into the hand.)
  • FIRST GIRL:You talkin' dough? (= money. Bread is a necessity of life and we earn money to be able to buy it. Dough, pronounced ‘doh,’ is what bread is before it is baked. A breadwinner is the individual who earns the money to support a family.)
  • THE SAVER: Bread. (see above note)
  • FIRST GIRL: Benjamins? (= $100 banknote. Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill. Sometimes called in street talk as a ‘Benji’)
  • THE SAVER: Scratch (= money. Dates to beginning of the 20th century though its origins are unknown. Probably from the term ‘to scratch/scrape a living’ which means to earn just enough money to live). Greenbacks (= dollar. Since the Civil War, the back of US banknotes were printed in green ink). Moolah (= money. The origins are a mystery. Some say it comes from the Fijian language others say it comes from the French word ‘le moulin’ since mills were a primary source of wealth.) . Cheddar. (= money. This is a street term for money used often in African-American slang and rap music. I’m guessing that cheddar cheese probably was at some point in history an expensive item to buy and came to represent wealth or riches.) Simoleons. (= dollar. US slang term that is probably a blend of the 18th century British six pence coin called a ‘simon’ and the French gold ‘Napoleon’ coins.) Don't try to out-save me.
  • SECOND GIRL: He’s the Saver.
  • FIRST GIRL: (SAID WITH FRUSTRATION) I know he’s the Saver.
  • VOICEOVER : You could save 522 bucks. See for yourself at Esurance. Technology when you want it. People when you don’t.


  1. Simoleons is actually the type of currency used in "The Sims". A computer game.

  2. The Sims game does use the term "simoleon" to refer to the dollar, but the term was used as slang for money long before that.

  3. Love these commercials ... hilarious!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Sorry, the term "simoleons" to refer to money is older than television.


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