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These lines are from the movie Mr and Mrs Smith. What is the meaning of the phrase buck ten, buck fifteen, tops?

You get a look at him?

Little thing. Buck ten, buck fifteen, tops.

Maybe he’s Filipino.

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    @Silenus: It's true there's an entry in Urban Dictionary for that sense. But I didn't know this usage before now, and it's not in the full OED, so I really don't see why you'd think this is a "learner's" question. There's little point in teaching learners a usage which most native speakers would struggle to interpret. Oct 30, 2016 at 16:34

1 Answer 1

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"Buck ten" means "One dollar and ten cents", or 110 cents. So it presumably means here 110 pounds, or about 50 kilos. Likewise "buck fifteen" means 115 pounds. So:

He looks like he only weighs 110 pounds, or 115 pounds at most.

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    I find this extremely odd. I have never ever seen the use of a buck (a dollar) used for weight like that.
    – Lambie
    Oct 30, 2016 at 16:23
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    I live in upstate New York. I've heard it all my life.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 30, 2016 at 16:40
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    @Lambie Obvious, but buck = dollar = 100 cents. Buck ten = 110 cents. Change cents to pounds. Not uncommon in the States. Oct 30, 2016 at 16:40
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    @Lambie, in actuality it is not being used for weight, it is being used as a form of numeral. So TonyK is actually giving the inferred meaning.The speaker is actually saying: "Little thing, 110, 115 at most." What those numbers actually mean comes from the context. Curiously you also hear it in monetary discussions. "How much does this job pay per year? A buck twenty?" Curiously that actually means the annual salary is $120,000. And just to confuse things more, if you are asking about consulting rates you might hear "a buck twenty" which in this context means $120 per hour. Context is king.
    – Fraser Orr
    Oct 30, 2016 at 18:34
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    @Lambie No, this is not just Hollywood scriptwriters avoiding clichés. The English-speaking world is a big place, plenty of room for slang that we haven't heard before. In this case I've heard it too, and it's very slangy, but it's not artificial. And though the meaning comes from the dollar/cents meaning, it's not literally measuring weight in money.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 31, 2016 at 6:10

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