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Spondulix, Simoleons, and Other Words for Money

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Sean from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is an editor who reads lots of fiction from the 1930s, in which he often runs into the words spondulixand simoleons, meaning “a large amount of money.” They’re both Americanisms. Spondulix, also spelled spondulicks or spondulux, may derive from the Greek word spondylos, meaning “vertebra” or “spine,” suggesting the similarity between a column of those bones and coined stacked for counting. Simoleon is more of a mystery, although some have suggested a link with semolina flour, given that there’s a long list of food names that are used as slang for “money,” including cabbage, cheddar, chicken feed, peanuts, and coliander, a variant of coriander. This is part of a complete episode.

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