Bang for the buck

This cupcake is serious bang for the bucks, pic: /www.allthingscupcake.com

In the US you will hear the following expression: “get the most bang for your bucks.”

To understand this expression one must understand the slang use of the two nouns “bang” and “buck”.

Let’s start with bucks.  Bucks are money, dollars.  It is a frequently used casual expression for money in context like “David, could you lend me a couple of bucks for a coffee, I forgot my wallet in the office.”  It has become so common that it can be used in casual business conversation as well as shown in this example: “That new data center must have cost at least 3 million bucks!”

“Bang” has several meanings – some you want to stay clear off, so don’t use it by itself unless you are referring to loud noise (“did you hear that loud bang just now?  What was that?”) .  In this context it means something like “benefit”.

If we put it together we get: the most benefit for your money.

The expression is used in casual and business contexts.  Here are a couple examples:

Marketing VP: “As a small company we have little money to spend on marketing, that’s why we need to make sure to get the most bang for our bucks.”

Wife to husband while car shopping: “I think with the Toyota Camry we’ll get the most bang for our buck.”

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