Dear Word Detective: My husband and I were watching TV, and the widespread word “grand” was provided for “one thousand also dollars.” Can you tell me the origin of this usage? I have actually found one area that states it began through bookies in the 1920’s, yet that is all I can find. — Annie Rowland, Marble Falls, Texas.

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That’s an amazing question. Incidentally, has it ever before struck anyone else as odd that the word “bookie” is booked for world who facilitate illicit gambling (from keeping the “books,” or ledgers, of bets), and isn’t offered for world who enjoy analysis books, that need to take a trip under the awkward and vaguely creepy label “book lovers”? I may be a tiny sensitive on this subject, bereason many years back I wrote a book referred to as “The Publication Lover’s Guide to the Internet,” and also I can’t aid yet suspect that “The Bookie’s Guide…” would certainly have offered better. (Yes, I recognize that renders no sense.)

By the means, that book is still for sale in many type of locations. Please carry out not buy it. It was last updated in 1996, which, in internet terms, was about the 1fifth century.

Speaking of the 1fifth century, that’s as soon as English adopted the Old French word “grant” (eventually from the Latin “grandis,” great or large) as “grand also,” with the sense of not sindicate “big,” however also “imposing” or “excellent, famous, exalted or important.” Over the next few centuries “grand” was frequently offered in main titles (e.g., Grand Marshall), and in informal appellations honoring people (“grand old warrior,” etc.), and also used to occasions and things judged to be of great importance. Eventually, “grand” took on a more basic sense in the popular vocabulary of “impressively large” (e.g., Grand Canyon) or “noble.” (The use of “grand” in “grandfather” and also “grandmother,” yet, is rooted in parallel terms in French, and also actually predays the use of the “large” type of “grand” in English by a century.)

Over the years, “grand” likewise gained a variety of vernacular and also slang senses, including “grand” meaning a big piano, and also such develops as “grand also prize” and also “grand slam,” the latter once a term in whist or bridge, now offered to mean “finish triumph” in any field.

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The usage of “grand” to suppose “one thousand dollars” does indeed come from Amerideserve to underhuman being slang, first showing up approximately 1915. It was one of a number of slang terms, some still in usage, for certain denomicountries of bills (or that amount of money), including “c-note” (or “century note”) for a one-hundred dollar bill (from the Romale numeral “C,” denoting 100). A “sawbuck” was a ten-dollar bill, from the resemblance of the Roman character “X” (ten) that when showed up thereon to a sawequine, and also a twenty-dollar bill was well-known as, logically, a “double sawbuck.”

The usage of “grand” for a thousand dollars (or a thousand-dollar bill) may seem puzzling in this day of hedge-fund managers and their billion-dollar bonuses, yet in 1915 one thousand dollars was a very big sum of money, far more than the average functioning stiff would certainly ever possess at once. So it made sense to pay tribute to such an superior sum with the word “grand also,” and also the name stuck.