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[green-bak] /ˈgrinˌbæk/
a U.S. legal-tender note, printed in green on the back since the Civil War, originally issued against the credit of the country and not against gold or silver on deposit.
1860-65, Americanism; green + back1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for greenbacks
  • By your logic, the existence of counterfeit dollar bills would virtually preclude the existence of real greenbacks.
  • Because oil is traded in dollars, rising prices initially increase the demand for greenbacks.
  • The greenbacks might have been placed there by people who are more generous than yourself.
  • Topics include the silver question and post-war redemption of greenbacks.
  • Urban forest landscapes, how greenery saves greenbacks.
  • Fiat currency- the unsecured paper known as greenbacks-was printed and used to pay the troops and their suppliers.
British Dictionary definitions for greenbacks


(US, informal) an inconvertible legal-tender US currency note originally issued during the Civil War in 1862
(US, slang) a dollar bill
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for greenbacks



"U.S. dollar bill," 1862, so called from the time of their introduction, from green (adj.) + back (n.); bank paper money printed in green ink had been called this since 1778 (as opposed to redbacks, etc.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for greenbacks



A dollar bill

[1870+; said to have been coined by Salmon P Chase, who died in 1873]

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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