Dear native Detective: mine husband and I were watching TV, and also the common word “grand” was used for “one thousands dollars.” can you call me the origin of this usage? i have uncovered one location that states it started with bookies in the 1920’s, however that is all I have the right to locate. — 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 civilization who facilitate illegal gambling (from keeping the “books,” or ledgers, that bets), and also isn’t supplied for world who enjoy analysis books, who have to travel under the awkward and vaguely creepy brand “book lovers”? I may be a tiny sensitive top top this subject, because many years back I wrote a publication called “The publication Lover’s overview to the Internet,” and also I can’t help but suspect that “The Bookie’s Guide…” would have sold better. (Yes, I know that renders no sense.)

By the way, that publication is still because that sale in numerous places. Please carry out not purchase it. It to be last update in 1996, which, in net terms, was approximately the 15th century.

Speaking the the 15th century, that’s when English adopted the Old French indigenous “grant” (ultimately indigenous the Latin “grandis,” an excellent or large) together “grand,” with the feeling of not merely “large,” but likewise “imposing” or “great, famous, exalted or important.” end the next few centuries “grand” was frequently used in main titles (e.g., cool Marshall), as well as in informal appellations honoring people (“grand old warrior,” etc.), and applied to events and things judged to it is in of great importance. Eventually, “grand” take it on a much more general sense in the well-known vocabulary that “impressively large” (e.g., cool Canyon) or “noble.” (The usage of “grand” in “grandfather” and also “grandmother,” however, is rooted in parallel state in French, and actually precedes the use of the “large” kind of “grand” in English through a century.)

Over the years, “grand” additionally acquired a range of vernacular and also slang senses, consisting of “grand” meaning a big piano, and such creates as “grand prize” and also “grand slam,” the last once a term in whist or bridge, now used to typical “complete triumph” in any kind of field.

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The use of “grand” to average “one thousand dollars” does certainly come from American underworld slang, an initial appearing around 1915. That was among a number of slang terms, some still in use, for particular denominations of bills (or the amount that money), consisting of “c-note” (or “century note”) for a one-hundred dollar invoice (from the Roman numeral “C,” denoting 100). A “sawbuck” to be a ten-dollar bill, native the same of the Roman character “X” (ten) that once showed up thereon to a sawhorse, and a twenty-dollar invoice was recognized as, logically, a “double sawbuck.”

The usage of “grand” because that a thousand dollars (or a thousand-dollar bill) may seem puzzling in this particular day of hedge-fund managers and also their billion-dollar bonuses, however in 1915 one thousand dollars to be a very huge sum of money, far more than the median working stubborn would ever possess in ~ one time. So the made feeling to salary tribute to such an exceptional sum with the word “grand,” and the surname stuck.