Date: Sun, 8 May 1994 08:35:25 EDT
From: Al Futrell AWFUTR01[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ULKYVM.LOUISVILLE.EDU
One meaning of "case" that DARE does not include is "last." In relation
to money, especially the instance of 'case' meaning 'dollar,' "case"
refers to one's last dollar. Thus, a case dollar is one's last dollar,
so when someone is down to his case dollar or down to his case or caser
he is almost broke. "He took my case note" means he took my last dollar.
This sense of "case" comes from gambling -- and Maurer (Language
of the Underworld) and Clark (Dictionary of Gambling and Gaming) and
Wentworth and Flexner (Dictionary of American Slang) and Goldin,
O'Leary, and Lipsius (Dictionary of American Underworld Lingo) and
even Farmer and Henley (Slang and its Analogues) include this sense of
"case" even though it is missing in DARE.
With regard to "case" suggesting unity, as in a case quarter rather
than 5 nickels, in Kentucky I have often heard people ask for a
"silver" dime when they want an actual dime and not just 10 cents.
Assuming that "case" and "silver" are synonyms and noticing that
DARE's examples of "case" for a coin of a particular denomination
all come from the South, I am wondering how folks above the
Mason-Dixon line refer to a particualr denomination of a coin.
I ask this having grown up in Illinois and not remembering how I
used to talk!