Javatpoint Logo
Javatpoint Logo


It is very common for people to hear that "I want 20 bucks" or "this was worth 500 bucks", but do you ever wonder what a buck could mean and why people use this term? Generally, when people are talking about the dollar, they refer to it as bucks, but it sure has its history or origin and a reason behind this universally followed term.

What Is a Buck?


The term "buck" is an informal reference to one dollar or $1, which has its origin dating back to the time of the American colonial period when the skins of deer (bucks) were a medium of exchange to buy stuff. Nowadays, bucks are referred to as the U.S. dollar. At present, the buck has transformed into a kind of currency that can be used for domestic and international purposes.

Understanding Buck

The word 'buck' was first used in the written form in the year 1748. A Dutch pioneer from Pennsylvania named Conrad Weiser was a person who had good going contacts with both the colonists and the Native Americans, and he wrote in his journal that a person was robbed for his stuff that was worth 300 bucks. It was not just that, he also said that five bucks were the price of a cask of whiskey then. After some time, the American government decided to replace animal skins and introduce paper notes for the act of buying goods. Now, the term 'buck' has remained as a mere slang which means one dollar.

Words That Use "Buck"


The word "buck" is used in several idioms and phrases. When someone says they want to "make a fast buck," they usually mean that they want to earn money quickly and with little work. A rapid and simple profit is referred to as a "quick buck." Making a quick buck, or making a fast buck, can allude to fraud or deception. A person who earns money ethically and lawfully is said to be "making an honest buck."

A person who receives "more value for the buck" does so by having an extremely favorable cost-to-benefit ratio. For instance, a computer that costs $200 offers better value than a computer that costs $300. On the other hand, if a 15-year-old car breaks down soon after being purchased and the repairs end up costing more than the original purchase price, the buyer may not be getting the best value possible.

On trading desks, if foreign exchange, a buck is usually used to refer to a trade worth $1 million. If a consumer needs a price on a half-a-buck of a transaction of a currency, it is a notional amount of $500,000.

The Value of a Buck


The back also means the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar in comparison to currencies used in other countries. An exchange rate refers to the exact value of the currency of a country versus another country's currency value. Let us understand it more clearly with the help of an example. If the buck is being traded at a rate of $1.15 versus the Euro, it states that to buy goods worth one Euro, people in the U.S. would have to spend 1.15 dollars in total. In case the buck is strengthening, it means that people in the U.S. can get more goods from their bucks. In this kind of situation, the exchange rate of the Euro to the U.S. dollar decreases, and the strength of the dollar increases. To understand this here is an example: when the dollar strengthens, the exchange rate decreases to $1.10.

Imagine a family happily planning a holiday trip to Europe from the United States with a limited amount in their hand. They will aim to plan the trip when the exchange rate is low and the value of the buck is high. When the exchange rate is cheap, they would have to spend less to buy stuff in Europe. In contrast to this situation, if a family is coming back from Europe and they have Euros that they want to convert into dollars, they would seek a time when the exchange rate would be high so that they would get more dollars in exchange for fewer euros. The family would want the euros to be the stronger currency (1.25, for example) so that it would be profitable for them.

Breaking the Buck

The money market fund's net asset value (NAV), which is less than one dollar, is referred to as "Breaking the buck". If we take mutual funds as an example, the net asset value can be easily calculated by subtracting the net value of the assets (the securities) from the total value of its liabilities along with the costs that are required to run the fund. The situation of "Breaking the buck" is faced by the traders only when the money spent on operating things or the losses due to any investment isn't covered by the investments of the money market funds.

Important points till now

  • The term 'buck' is an unofficial reference to $1, which has its origin back in the days when America was colonized.
  • The phrase "Making a fast buck" means that a person wants to earn some money in a short period.
  • Buck can also mean the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to the other currencies around the world.

The buck also refers to the U.S. dollar exchange rate versus other currencies in the world.

A buck refers to a trade worth $1 million on foreign exchange trading desks.

Real-World Examples of the Buck


At times when the interest rates are low and the risks are much higher, the investors tend to sell their funds for higher-yielding or safer investments, and this leads to the situation of "breaking the buck" in the money market. In 1994, the world witnessed this situation for the first time in the United States. The New York Times mentioned in their newspaper that when investors liquidated the Community Bankers U.S. Government Money Market Fund at 94 cents due to large losses.

The fund was supposed to be Invested in the safest short-term securities available at the time. The investment world was shocked when they faced their first loss because, at that time, people considered money market funds an immensely safe investment.

At the time, the fund was considered to be invested in the safest short-term securities available. The first loss of its kind shocked the investment world since money market funds were considered extremely safe investments.

The Conclusion

There are several meanings to ‚buck' but one buck usually refers to one US dollar. If something costs someone 100 bucks then its price will surely be 100 dollars. Some people across the globe also refer to buck as the general unit used for currencies and might refer to 100 rupees as 100 bucks. This word is widely used by people around the world and has developed a lot of different meanings as compared to its origin.

Next TopicWei

Youtube For Videos Join Our Youtube Channel: Join Now


Help Others, Please Share

facebook twitter pinterest

Learn Latest Tutorials


Trending Technologies

B.Tech / MCA