In a current interview about a fascinating-looking telephone-hotline documentary, call psychic and also infomercial star Ms. Cleo revealed the she’s not simply gay — “I’m as gay as a two dollar bill,” she declared. “Ms. Cleo concerns Hot Docs: ‘I’m Gay as a two Dollar Bill’” IndieWire, may 1, 2014>

Really? There’s nothing gay, straight, or typically sexual around a $2 bill, as far as I can discern.

You are watching: Queerer than a 2 dollar bill

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

“Queer as a three-dollar bill”:

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

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

Although queer had actually been to work to mean “gay” for quite a while, it shows up to have picked increase mainstream consumption only in the final quarter of the twentieth century — the same period in i beg your pardon the $2 bill was reintroduced right into circulation (1976). Coincidence?

Okay, possibly it’s a stretch. But maybe not. As a former linguistics major, I define it as simply my armchair attempt to wrap my head about the sociolinguistic change of “three-dollar bill” to “two-dollar bill.” It appears that within a concentrated duration of time, Americans began using the terms queer and also two-dollar bill a lot an ext (even while the $2 bill was shrouded in an enig and uncertainty, as it remains).

The mangling the the expression had another prominent appearance last year, once Sherri Shepherd that The View uttered the quote “gayer than a happy two-dollar bill.” Wow. Not simply gayer than a continuous 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 been for decades that a expression once definition “phony” now means “a exciting whimsical degree of gayness.”

Folks of all stripes whip it out, also those who are otherwise intelligent and educated, such as this acquaintance the mine:

“For a when you could say ‘queer together a two-dollar bill’ because there to be no such point as a two-dollar bill.”acquaintance, June 19, 2013. Let’s not even get in the reasons why this quote is interesting.

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

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

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