Date: Sun, 8 May 1994 21:14:17 -700


Subject: Re: case

On Sun, 8 May 1994, Al Futrell wrote:

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!

Easy.... A quarter is a quarter! If I ask for twenty-five cents, I

expect to get any combination of coins adding up to that amount. If I

asked for a quarter and someone gave me five nickels, my response would

be, "No, I need a quarter!"

In my dialect, and that of my friends, "case quarter" would be clearly


Keith Russell