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Entry from March 19, 2010
“A dollar-three-eighty”

"A dollar three-eighty” means a small (or unknown) amount, given in a nonsense language. The term appears in the Texas Crude (1984) slang collection and it has been described (below) as “a weary old East Texas joke,” but the origin is unknown. Jazz composer Stan Kenton had a song titled “Opus a dollar three-eighty” in 1944. The term appears to date to at least 1931.

“A buck three-eighty” has been in use since at least 1972.


pseudodictionary
a-dollar-three-eighty - The price for anything.
e.g., Question: How much is it? Answer: A-dollar-three-eighty.
submitted by george Kelly

Urban Dictionary
buck three eighty
a pittance, or the amount that one lacks in order to purchase a local busfare.
shizot, i nedd to get back to willy b, and i’m short a buck three eighty.
by boho Apr 2, 2004

Google Answers
Subject: “Dollar Three Eighty”
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: bakegoodz-ga
Where does the saying “A dollar three eighty come from”?

Subject: Re: “Dollar Three Eighty”
From: tlspiegel-ga on 02 Dec 2003 22:51 PST
I’ve searched and searched but cannot find the history or origin.  It is slang/an idiom, dialect, etc.

There are many variations but the meaning is always the same:  The price for anything.

- a buck three eighty
- a buck one eighty
- a dollar one-eighty

Google Books
Xi Psi Phi quarterly
v. 29 - 1930 (It appears to date from 1931—ed.)
Pg. 31:
... day and did the collecting from the boys and he reports he was short changed to the extent of a dollar-three-eighty.

Jazz.com
Stan Kenton: Opus a Dollar Three Eighty
Track Opus A Dollar Three Eighty
Group Stan Kenton and His Orchestra
CD Eager Beaver (EMI-Toshiba TOCJ 5651)
Buy Track Musicians:
Stan Kenton (piano),
and 16-piece band including Buddy Childers (trumpet), Bart Varsalona (bass trombone), Dave Matthews (tenor saxophone), Stan Getz (tenor saxophone), and Gene Englund (bass)
.
Composed by Pete Rugolo
Recorded: Hollywood, CA, April 20, 1944

OCLC WorldCat record
Nineteen forty-four
Author: Stan Kenton; Anita O’Day; Claude Debussy
Publisher: London : Swing House, 1981.
Edition/Format: Musical LP : Jazz : English
Contents: Eager beaver (2:59)—Ride one (2:23)—I know that you know (1:52)—Claire de lune (3:19)—Build it up (3:16)—Five o’clock drag (3:38)—I didn’t know about you (3:23)—Opus a dollar three-eighty (2:10)

24 September 1949, Tucson (AZ) Daily CItizen, pg. 11, col. 9 classified ad:
If you just can’t see any of these—brother, we know just the man for you. He only charges a dollar three-eighty for a pair of glasses.
(Central Auto Sales—ed.)

18 July 1950, Burlington (NC) Daily Times-News, pg. 3B, col. 1:
It’s been rumored he’s paying each man a dollar three eighty.

26 August 1969, Morgantown (WV) Dominion-News, pg. 7A ad:
GLASSWARE
A DOLLAR THREE EIGHTY
Sounds like a crazy price?
(DeCarlo’s—ed.)

4 May 1972, Clearfield (PA) Progress, pg. 4, col. 6:
Mac’s all sold out of those rotary birdbaths but now he’s pushing electric water wings. They cost a nickle (sic) ninety-eight, less batteries, which are a buck three-eighty apiece.

Google Books
Texas Crude:
The how-to on talkin’ Texan

By Ken Weaver
New York, NY: E. P. Dutton
1984
Pg. 110:
A dollar-three-eighty.
A fanciful price tag, used when one wishes to conceal the true price of an article.

WebmasterWorld.com
tangor
11:11 am on May 8, 2009
(...)
My OPINION so take that for what it is worth (which isn’t much, I only charge a dollar three-eighty for advice). (A weary old East texas joke for you get nothing for nothing as there is no three-eighty)

TheSamba.com
Chazbot
Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:09 pm
I dare anyone to play the song, sing, record and post the song......A dollar three eighty to the one who does it.... 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, March 19, 2010 • Permalink