When you’re in New York, you’ll hear people saying things you’ve never heard anywhere else. It’s important to understand what these things mean so you can respond accordingly.
One phrase you might hear tossed around occasionally is “buck fifty.” No, this doesn’t mean a dollar and fifty cents.
In this brief post, we’ll explain to you the meaning of the New York slang phrase buck fifty, as well as where it may have come from.
What Does Buck Fifty Mean in New York Slang?
When most people hear someone say something like a buck fifty, they assume it’s referencing $1.50. This is because many people all over the country refer to dollars as bucks.
However, the phrase buck fifty actually has more sinister origins. Although it’s unclear whether or not the phrase originally came from New York, New Yorkers commonly know it refers to a kind of injury.
A buck fifty is a cut on someone’s face, usually going from the corner of their mouth to their ear. It looks slightly like the Joker’s mouth in Batman, except the scar only goes up one side of the face as opposed to both.
The cut is supposedly only inflicted by gang members. Some say it’s called a buck fifty because you’d need around 150 stitches to close the wound.
Examples of How to Use Buck Fifty
Buck fifty has gang-related connotations for some people, so it may not be a phrase you’ll want to use often. On top of that, it refers to a kind of wound, which doesn’t make for pleasant daily conversation.
It’s a noun, so you’ll use it to point out a specific type of injury. If you were to hear someone use it in a sentence, it might sound like this:
“Did you see Tony? He’s got a buck fifty on his face.”
You may also hear someone say something like this:
“If you don’t stop talking to her, I’m going to give you a buck fifty.”
These days, this doesn’t seem to be common slang, though, so you likely won’t hear it a lot, if at all.
While most slang from the tristate area tends to have friendlier origins, the origins for the phrase buck fifty are a little darker. It was used more commonly over a decade ago in reference to a type of cut you could get on your face that went from one side of your mouth up to your ear.
Because many believed that only gang members would cut people’s faces in this manner, this is one phrase you probably don’t want to use often.