October 09, 2015 03:10 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Money Talks

American $100 bills
American $100 bills


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I’m Susan Clark with Words and Their Stories, a program in Special English on the Voice of America.
People often say that money talks. They mean that a person with a lot of money can say how he or she wants things done. But it is not easy to earn enough money to gain this kind of power.

Ask anyone in a business. They will tell you that it is a jungle out there. The expression probably began because the jungle is filled with wild animals and unknown dangers that threaten people. Sometimes people in business feel competing businesses are as dangerous as wild animals. And they feel that unknown dangers in the business world threaten the survival of their business.

People in business have to be careful if they are to survive the jungle out there. They must not be led into making bogus investments. Bogus means something that is not real.
Nobody is sure how the word got started. But it began to appear in American newspapers in the eighteen hundreds. A newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts said the word came from a criminal whose name was Borghese. The newspaper said Borghese wrote checks to people although he did not have enough money in the bank. After he wrote the checks, he would flee from town. So, people who were paid with his checks received nothing. The newspaper said Americans shortened and changed the criminal's name Borghese, to bogus.

People trying to earn money also must be aware of being ripped off. A person who is ripped off has had something stolen, or at least has been treated very unfairly.

A writer for the magazine “American Speech” said he first saw the expression used in 1971. It was on a sign that a student carried during a protest demonstration at a university. The message on the sign was that the student felt ripped off, or cheated.
Perhaps the best way to prevent getting ripped off in business is to not try to get rich quickly. To be successful, a person in business works hard and tries to get down to brass tacks.

This expression means to get to the bottom or most important part of something. For example, a salesman may talk and talk about his product without saying the price. You get down to brass tacks when you say, “it sounds good, but how much does it cost?”
Word expert Charles Funk thinks the expression comes from sailors on ships. They clean the bottom of a boat. When they have removed all the dirt, they are down to the brass tacks, the copper pieces that hold the boat together.
So, if we get down to brass tacks, we can prevent ripoffs and bogus ways of earning money in that jungle out there. And, some good luck will help, too.
This Words and Their Stories was written by Jeri Watson. I’m Susan Clark.

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Comment Sorting
by: Hachim al Rakan from: jordan
06/20/2013 2:36 PM
" Mony talks" , remember me to puzzle relative about the paper of draft ( money) which has picture to man ( Prisedent or other ) ,
. this puzzle said : I ask you about a yong Pregnant has old man in her womb , this man was dead and the woman alive . . . alive woman sypolizes to the currency paper.thank you

by: Hachim al Rakan from: jordan
06/20/2013 2:36 PM
" Mony talks" , remember me to puzzle relative about the paper of draft ( money) which has picture to man ( Prisedent or other ) ,
. this puzzle said : I ask you about a yong Pregnant has old man in her womb , this man was dead and the woman alive . . . alive woman sypolizes to the currency paper.thank you

by: Anonymous
06/19/2013 10:47 PM
Some people say that money talks. They think that
people with a lot of money can get the things done because they want and they have the money to buy them. However, This people have to be careful because there is jungle out with a kind a business like a bogus investment when they are not real and this is because of some people who liked to pay in check when they didn't have any saving account in a bank and they were a bad check. On the other hand, some people that earn not enough money they don't want to ripp off for someone and perhaps the best way to avoid this is not to try to get rich quickly. In order to have success in business is to get down to brass tacks and in this case a salesman can talk about his product without saying a prize but at the same time to get to the bottom of the most important things.

by: Chris Okeke from: Anambra Nigeria
06/19/2013 1:27 PM
I think i agree with that statement Money talks, cause in eastern Nigeria, Igbo tribes to be precise, we have an adage that says "Money holds the work," and people with money truly have a say in the society, even if they break the laws.

by: Huynh Sang from: Vietnam
06/19/2013 3:58 AM
I like the quote: “While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” - Groucho Marx. I think it's truly true. It means close to "money talks". If you have money, you will have a lot of chances to make you happy. I'm not sure but heard someone said the clause which means that: Something can not be bought by money, may be bought by too much money. I don't absolutely agree about it, but i think money is very important in our lives.

by: Jeason from: China
06/19/2013 2:45 AM
I want to ask a question.

They will tell you that it is a jungle out there.

I want to know why there is a "out" behind the word "jungle"?

Who can help me?

Tks a lot.

In Response

by: Ricky from: Italy
06/19/2013 8:58 PM
"there" is your private enviroment
"out there" is the jungle outside, the real life

In Response

by: Tung Dang from: Vietnam
06/19/2013 8:23 PM
"it is a jungle out there" mean "you've got to be strong to succeed"

In Response

by: Maria Dolores de Paula from: Brazil
06/19/2013 7:07 PM
I guess the collocation is actually ´out there´, which means not here in this enclosed space (or state of mind) we are in, like in ´there are a lot of people out there looking for a little kindness of heart ´....

06/16/2013 5:23 PM
In today's world money decides everything. Money is the root of all evil, perhaps. Money is the ultimate test of success in life expresses the importance of money. The Bible says 'A poor man is hated by his own neighbour, but the rich makes friends'. What a magic money does. Thank you for providing such good expressions on money. Today, it is money makes the man, not manners. Thank you.

by: Manuel Bastardo from: Caracas-Venezuela
06/16/2013 2:25 PM
In our country Venezuela and many countries in Latin America the fraud is a issue that very day icrease but also care about it increase too.Today there are very much technological resources to control this problem the banks are constantly informing about precautions we should take.
Thaks for the topic is very interesting and illustrative

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