Why Is 1000 Called A Grand?

If you are Mark Zuckerberg, it is a piece of cake to give away one thousand dollars. But if you are broke, one thousand dollars is better than cake.

How great $1000 is depends on how much money you have, but either way we call it a grand. Why is that?

Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…

Why Is 1000 Called A Grand?

According to Word Detective, the use of “grand” in reference to money dates back to around 1915. It came from American underworld slang, as in a grand sum of money.

So there we have it. At the time $1000 was a lot of money. If you had it, you were feeling grand. But it wasn’t the only slang for a specific amount of money. Here are a few others:

  • C-note (or century note) – one-hundred dollar bill, from the Roman numeral “C,” which is 100.
  • Sawbuck – a ten-dollar bill, from the resemblance of the Roman numeral “X” (ten) that once appeared thereon to a sawhorse
  • Double sawbuck – a twenty-dollar bill



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