What Does It Mean to Make "Big Bucks"?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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"Making big bucks" is one of several idiomatic expressions that has to do with the generation of personal wealth. Sometimes phrased as raking in the big bucks, making big bucks implies earning a considerable salary or wage in comparison to the average income found in a given area. The concept also carries the implication that the individual who is earning this higher than average income is slowly amassing personal wealth that will in turn provide a very comfortable lifestyle.

Big bucks is often thought to have its origins in the use of the word "bucks" in reference to the US dollar bill. The idea of big bucks implies the accumulation of a large number of dollars, typically by earning the money as compensation for services rendered to an employer. Big bucks may also be earned by participation in any type of money making process, such as the dividend payments earned from holding shares of stock, or the interest that is accrued on bond issues. As long as an activity results in creating a flow of revenue for the individual, he or she may be said to earn big bucks as the result of their efforts.


Many people set the goal of making big bucks as part of the criteria for choosing a career path, or selecting a certain position with a certain employer once that path is determined. The idea is often to combine the skills and talents of the individual with a career in which those abilities can provide use to the employer as well as a measure of personal fulfillment to the employee. Along with those provisions, the desire to secure the highest possible salary or wage also comes into play, allowing the employee to be satisfied by that employment on multiple fronts.

It is important to note that there is no specific amount of earnings that must be reached in order for an individual to be the recipient of big bucks. Salary or wages that are considered very attractive in one economic environment may be average at best in a different setting, and considered to be nothing particularly spectacular. At times, the idiom may be used in derision, as a means of making fun of the relatively low wages or salary that someone makes in relation to the earnings of their peers. More commonly, the saying does have to do with making more money than others in the immediate social network.


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