DEFINITION of 'Sawbuck'

A slang term for a U.S. $10 bill. Sawbuck refers to a rack used for holding wood for sawing that has a shape similar to the letter X. The U.S. Treasury initially used Roman numerals on its banknotes, and ten is represented by X in Latin. This term became popular in the 19th century.


The use of sawbuck as a type of slang has declined over the years, partially as Roman numerals have become less commonly-used on currencies and because fewer people are familiar with carpentry's use of sawbucks. Roman numerals appeared on U.S. currency before the creation of the Federal Reserve.