In a current interview around a fascinating-looking telephone-hotline documentary, phone psychic and infomercial star Ms. Cleo revealed that she’s not simply gay — “I’m as gay together a 2 dollar bill,” she declared. “Ms. Cleo comes to Hot Docs: ‘I’m Gay together a two Dollar Bill’” IndieWire, might 1, 2014>

Really? There’s nothing gay, straight, or typically sexual about a $2 bill, as much as I have the right to discern.

You are watching: Gayer than a 2 dollar bill

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Ms. Cleo gives us a fine instance of the bastardization that the anachronistic phrase “queer as a three-dollar bill.” First, some definitions.

“Queer together a three-dollar bill”:

phony together a three-dollar billand queer together a three-dollar bill:
Phony; bogus. (*Also: together ~.) This guy’s as phony together a three-dollar bill.
Go to (as) phony together a three-dollar bill absolutely or obviously homosexual. (Usually objectionable.)

Okay, that basically provides sense — in the context of queer meaning “phony” and three-dollar bill representing nonexistence. Yet at some point in the past few decades, both parts of the phrase changed! What sort of crazy alchemy to be at work?

Although queer had actually been employed to mean “gay” for fairly a while, it shows up to have picked increase mainstream consumption only in the final quarter the the twenty century — the same period in which the $2 invoice was reintroduced into circulation (1976). Coincidence?

Okay, possibly it’s a stretch. But maybe not. Together a former linguistics major, I explain it as just my armchair attempt to wrap mine head roughly the sociolinguistic revolution of “three-dollar bill” come “two-dollar bill.” It appears that within a concentrated duration of time, Americans started using the state queer and two-dollar bill a lot more (even while the $2 invoice was shrouded in secret and uncertainty, as it remains).

The mangling that the phrase had another prominent appearance last year, as soon as Sherri Shepherd that The View uttered the quote “gayer than a happy two-dollar bill.” Wow. Not simply gayer 보다 a continual ol’ $2 invoice — gayer 보다 a gosh-darn gay $2 bill! “Ken Cuccinelli’s war on oral Sex,” The Huffington Post, July 23, 2013>

And thus has it to be for years that a phrase once definition “phony” now means “a exciting whimsical level of gayness.”

Folks of every stripes whip that out, even those who space otherwise intelligent and educated, such together this acquaintance that mine:

“For a while you can say ‘queer as a two-dollar bill’ due to the fact that there was no such point as a two-dollar bill.”acquaintance, June 19, 2013. Let’s no even get in the reasons why this quote is interesting.

Now the I’ve ripped that topic right into shreds, part amusement:

Summer 1986, Mackinac Island, Michigan: ns remember seeing an unusual item and also loudly remarking, “That’s queer!” My parental corrected me; ns was told come not usage that phrase. (1) my middle-aged parental calling me the end on this (2) in remote Michigan (3) in 1986 adds up to a three-pronged factor for believing the phrase have to have had some legs for at least a couple of years before that.

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