What Does Big Bucks Mean?

Big Bucks Meaning

Definition: A lot of money, particularly as pay or profit.

The word buck is familiar slang for dollar. Earning, paying, or making the big bucks means earning, paying, or making a lot of money.

Origin of Big Bucks

The use of buck to mean dollar came about from the fact that, in early American history, people used deerskins as a medium of exchange. As early as 1748, the phrase was written in the journal of a man named Conrad Weiser who wrote while traveling through Indian country:

  • He has been robbed of the value of 300 bucks.

The word buck eventually became a common slang term for dollar. The adjective big, quite obviously, means a lot, and, from there, the phrase was born.

Examples of Big Bucks

make big moneyIn the modern day, this phrase is used generally to talk about the wages or pay someone earns on from a job, as in,

  • I’m making the big bucks now that I’m a lawyer.

“We made big bucks with that sale,” could also be said, or, “They charged big bucks for that car.” It is used informally in both speaking and writing.

Here is an example of a father telling a family friend about his son getting a new job,

Steve: Hey, Mary! Did you hear about Joe?

Mary: No, what’s going on?

Steve: He just got hired as a product engineer for Unilever. He is really making big bucks now.

Mary: Wow, that is great for him. What an accomplishment! You must be proud.

Steve: I really am.

how to make the big bucksHere is another example of two college students discussing their majors,

Todd: I’m not sure what program I want major in.

Alan: What are you passionate about?

Todd: I really like teaching, but teachers don’t exactly make the big bucks.

Alan: Well, whatever it is you do decide to study, make sure you enjoy it.

More Examples

  • With a $250 million economic impact over a five month season, winter recreational tourism is big bucks for West Virginia. –Beckley Register-Herald
  • NFL Overreations: Washington’s Kirk Cousins cost himself big bucks. –The Denver Post


Earning or paying the big bucks means that you are earning or paying a lot of money.