axle grease Australian slang for money, which greases the wheels of life, so to speak, helping things to run along more smoothly.
chicken feed Small change; a paltry or inconsequential amount of money. This American slang expression, which dates from 1836, is an allusion to the scraps and seeds fed to chickens.
fast buck Money acquired quickly and effortlessly, usually through illegal or unscrupulous methods. In this expression, buck carries the American slang meaning of dollar, making the origin of the term self-evident.
Trying to hustle me a fast buck. (A. Kober, New Yorker, January, 1949)
filthy lucre Money; money or other material goods acquired through unethical or dishonorable means, dirty money. This expression was first used in an epistle by St. Paul:
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers … who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. (Titus
mid-13c., monie, “funds, means, anything convertible into money;” c. 1300, “coinage, coin, metal currency,” from Old French monoie “money, coin, currency; change” (Modern French monnaie), from Latin moneta “place for coining money, mint; coined money, money, coinage,” from Moneta, a title or surname of the Roman goddess Juno, near whose temple on the Capitoline Hill money was coined (and in which perhaps the precious metal was stored); from monere “advise, warn, admonish” (on the model of stative verbs in -ere; see monitor (n.)), by tradition with the sense of “admonishing goddess,” which is sensible, but the etymology is difficult. A doublet of mint (n.2)).
It had been justly stated by a British writer that the power to make a small piece of paper, not worth one cent, by the inscribing of a few names, to be worth a thousand dollars, was a power too high to
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