Greenback

Filed Under: ,
Dictionary Says

Definition of 'Greenback'


A slang term for U.S. paper dollars. Greenbacks got their name from their color, however, in the mid-1800s, "greenback" was a negative term. During this time, the Continental Congress did not have taxing authority. As a result, the greenbacks did not have a secure financial backing and banks were reluctant to give customers the full value of the dollar.

Investopedia Says

Investopedia explains 'Greenback'


It took half a century to get all the foreign coins and competing state currencies out of circulation, but by the early 1800s, the U.S. was ready to try the paper money experiment again. Bank notes had been in circulation for a while, but because banks issued more notes than they had coin to cover, these notes often traded at less than face value.

In the 1860s, the U.S. created over $400 million in legal tender to finance its war against itself. These were called greenbacks simply because the backs were printed in green. The government backed this currency and stated that it could be used to pay back public and private debts. The value fluctuated according to the North's success or failure at certain stages in the war. Confederate dollars, also issued during the 1800s, followed the fate of the confederacy and were worthless by the end of the war.

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Closed-End Fund

    A closed-end fund is a publicly traded investment company that raises a fixed amount of capital through an initial public offering (IPO). The fund is then structured, listed and traded like a stock on a stock exchange.
  2. Payday Loan

    A type of short-term borrowing where an individual borrows a small amount at a very high rate of interest. The borrower typically writes a post-dated personal check in the amount they wish to borrow plus a fee in exchange for cash.
  3. Securitization

    The process through which an issuer creates a financial instrument by combining other financial assets and then marketing different tiers of the repackaged instruments to investors.
  4. Economic Forecasting

    The process of attempting to predict the future condition of the economy. This involves the use of statistical models utilizing variables sometimes called indicators.
  5. Chicago Mercantile Exchange - CME

    The world's second-largest exchange for futures and options on futures and the largest in the U.S. Trading involves mostly futures on interest rates, currency, equities, stock indices and agricultural products.
  6. Private Equity

    Equity capital that is not quoted on a public exchange. Private equity consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies that result in a delisting of public equity.
Trading Center