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four bits

noun, Slang.
50 cents.
Origin of four bits
1830-40, Americanism
Related forms
four-bit, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for four-bits
Historical Examples
  • It cost "four-bits" and drinks to dance, and the dances lasted only a few minutes.

    Arizona's Yesterday John H. Cady
  • Didn't I see the man who had been there and paid his four-bits to cross?

  • Ten dollars apiece was the price of a chance, and it was freeze-out at four-bits a chip.

    Bat Wing Bowles Dane Coolidge
  • Well, you can't blame her, in a way; when Bill lit out, he done her out of four-bits!

    Free Air Sinclair Lewis
Slang definitions & phrases for four-bits

four bits

noun phrase

Half a dollar; 50 cents

[1840s+; originally a bit was a Mexican or Spanish real, worth 12½ cents, or a part of a more valuable coin, such that eight would make a dollar; ultimately fr 18th-century British slang bit, ''a small piece of money'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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