Two Bits

Put my two cents in

This phrase draws an analogy to the poker ante (two bits) and gains your entry into the conversation.

"Put my two cents in" originates from the older "put my two bits in" and has its origin in the game of poker. When playing poker you have to make a small bet before the cards are dealt called an "ante" to begin play in that hand.

 Two bits means one quarter (currently the American twenty five cent piece). This comes from the older term "piece of eight".

Today we have coins minted in different denominations - nickel, dime, and quarter in the U.S. - but this was not always so. Gold and silver coins once served as currency, with the value of the coin equal to the value of the gold or silver contained in the coin. To obtain currency valued at less than a full gold coin, coins would be scored and split into pieces. This is how one would make change so to speak.

Coins could be split into halfs, quarters, and eighths. One eighth of a coin was called a "piece of eight" and also called a "bit". Two pieces of eight is equal to one quarter. Hence "two bits" is a quarter.

Hence "Smashed to bits" literally means to break something into eighths.

mflatham mflatham
56-60, F
1 Response Jul 15, 2007

Wow, you're a smart cookie. <br />
1) let the cat out of the bag.<br />
2) No mans' Land<br />
3) keep your nose clean<br />
4) caught red handed<br />
<br />
I thought you might like doing those, I only think I know a couple, and some are self explanatory, but each one has some historical significance, like "Davey Jones Locker"