sawbuck

noun

saw·​buck ˈsȯ-ˌbək How to pronounce sawbuck (audio)
1
slang : a 10-dollar bill
2
: sawhorse
especially : one with X-shaped ends

Did you know?

It has been suggested that the word sawbuck came to mean a 10-dollar bill because the X-shaped ends of a sawbuck look like the Roman numeral for 10. This explanation is problematic because earliest known use of sawbuck in print, from 1850, refers to a 10-dollar bill, not a sawhorse. But we won't rule out the possibility that the sawhorse sense was used in speech before 1850 and just didn't appear in print until later. If you are wondering about buck, we can tell you that it first appeared in print as a word for dollar in 1856 - six years after the first recorded use of sawbuck for a 10-dollar bill.

Examples of sawbuck in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But try that nowadays and the guy will laugh derisively, then pick up your sawbuck between his thumb and index finger, like a piece of filth, and hand it back to you. Jack Handey, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 Say, there's an idea: The mall is free, but the greeter will shake your hand for a sawbuck. Star Tribune, 26 Feb. 2021 And just like that, two sawbucks bought you entry into the annals of Michigan golf history. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, 25 June 2019 The sawbuck, which should get its own shot of color and hit streets next spring. Wired Staff, WIRED, 28 Sep. 2004

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sawbuck.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sawbuck was in 1850

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near sawbuck

Cite this Entry

“Sawbuck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sawbuck. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

sawbuck

noun
saw·​buck ˈsȯ-ˌbək How to pronounce sawbuck (audio)
1
2
slang : a 10-dollar bill

More from Merriam-Webster on sawbuck

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!