green·​back | \ ˈgrēn-ˌbak How to pronounce greenback (audio) \

Definition of greenback

: a legal-tender note issued by the U.S. government

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Synonyms for greenback


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Examples of greenback in a Sentence

she threw a few greenbacks on the counter to pay for the drinks
Recent Examples on the Web Elsewhere The yuan was roughly flat against the U.S. dollar in offshore markets, with the Chinese currency at 6.8775 per greenback. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Cars, Pigs and Handset Parts: Three Firms Show Troubles for Chinese Stocks," 12 Sep. 2018 The loonie weakened against the greenback and Canada’s two-year and 10-year bonds rallied for a fifth straight day. Shelly Hagan,, "Virus Fallout Hits Canada Stocks After Second Confirmed Case," 29 Apr. 2020 The British pound is up 3% against the greenback, rebounding nicely after the Bank of England announced an emergency cut yesterday. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "The global markets climb even as the coronavirus death rate soars," 20 Mar. 2020 Many of those countries service their debt using the greenback, making them more economically sensitive to the dollar’s moves. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Greenback Weighs On Corporate Profits," 29 Sep. 2018 Where greenbacks once greased the world economy, yuan, or euros, or yen would instead flow out to finance the Chinese, euro zone or Japanese current accounts. Washington Post, "Trump’s Hated Deficits Are the Source of U.S. Strength," 28 June 2019 Amid this equities rally, the greenback is set for its worst week since 2009. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "The global rally at risk of fizzling after Thursday’s historic ‘bull’ run," 27 Mar. 2020 No other currency stands a chance against the greenback's attractiveness, said Francesco Pesole, FX strategist at ING. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Coronavirus fears have pushed the US dollar to a three-year high," 22 Feb. 2020 The low Canadian dollar compared to the American greenback has long kept the film industry in Vancouver busy as Hollywood producers reduce costs by flying north. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "Coronavirus: How Travel Restrictions Could Boost Hollywood Production in Canada," 13 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'greenback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of greenback

1862, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for greenback

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The first known use of greenback was in 1862

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Statistics for greenback

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Greenback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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Financial Definition of greenback

What It Is

Greenback is a slang term for the U.S. dollar. This name is derived from the green color of U.S. paper currency.

How It Works

Since U.S. currency notes were first introduced in the early 1800s, their color has customarily been green. For several decades until the end of the American Civil War, the U.S. federal government was unable to fully back currency notes, and most banking authorities were unwilling to fully honor their face value. As a result, the term "greenback" began as a derogatory term that over time, evolved into common slang.  Once dollar bill denominations were centrally issued and universally acceptable as a form of payment, other vernacular terms including "buck" were introduced into common language.

Why It Matters

The term greenback is not used as frequently as it once was – particularly where the color of American currency has changed in recent years.  Although the connotation of the term is no longer derogatory as it once was, it is important to recognize the historical origins for the term "greenback."

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce greenback (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of greenback

informal : a piece of U.S. paper money

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