soft money n.
1. notes, bills, paper money; also attrib.
|Life in London (1830) 47: tom [...] smiled with indifference at the rolls of soft which his most captivating fancy-piece drew from him repeatedly.|
|Henry Clay Bugle 11 Apr. 3/3: Mr. Tod [...] endorses the bank doctrines of Gov. Shannon, and declares himself a sort of hermaphrodite, soft money man [DA].|
|Bristol Bill 40/2: He [...] told him he had ‘cracked’ something, no matter what — and he wanted to ‘smash’ a bunch of the ‘soft’.[G. Thompson]|
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 98: SOFT [...] formerly bank notes.|
|Rogue’s Progress (1966) 32: Hayward [...] carried on the system of passing ‘soft’ - that is to say, forged - notes on the Bank of England.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 8/2: There was over three hundred pounds [...] mostly all in ‘soft’.|
|New Ulm Rev. (MN) 19 Nov. 1/5: ‘Take the “soft” to the hotel, with the usual story’.|
|Literary Curiosities 450: In political parlance, especially during the second half of the decade 1870–1880, [...] ‘soft money’ [...] was understood [to mean] an irredeemable paper currency such as was advocated by the Greenbackers.|
|Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 15 Nov. 5/3: The ‘soft’ is paper money.|
|Little Falls Herald (MN) 31 Mar. 3/3: How to Operate the Shell Game with Profit [...] When the steerer gets the geezer in the push, let the boosters stall until the main plugger cops; then, if the gilly digs in his keyser [sic] or goes south for soft, give him a flash of the little dinkie doodle ball.|
|Vocab. Criminal Sl. 78: soft [...] Paper money [...] ‘I fanned a gob of soft in the right jerve.’.|
|Fast One (1936) 158: I’ve got Fenner’s cheque too and somewhere around ten grand soft.|
|G.I. Laughs 171: Soft money, paper currency.|
|DAUL 201/2: Soft. (Carnival) Paper currency; bills.et al.|
|On the Yard (2002) 87: Such a fifteenth, wrapped in wax paper, was sold either for three dollars soft money or a carton of cigarettes.|
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
|(con. 1920s) Legs 117: In case I pulled another rock and the next cop gave me a fast frisk, I exchanged the hard money for soft, rolled four ace notes tightly and buried them in the tobacco bag.|
|Oz ser. 2 ep. 6 [TV script] How dumb you got to be to give hard or soft money for a decent place to crash and it’s false advertising?‘Strange Bedfellows’|
2. (US) currency that is likely to lose its value.
|(con. 19C) NDAS.|
3. (also soft dough) money that is easily earned or otherwise gained.
|Taking the Count 156: Tierney says it will be the softest money that ever went hunting a home.‘No Business’|
|Sez ‘Bugs’ Baer 26 Aug. [synd. col.] Cap Huston doesn’t want to bilk Babe [Ruth] out of soft dough.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 217: soft dough Money easily acquired.|
|(con. 1940s) Confessions 151: Sure [...] if it’s soft money.|
to pass counterfeit notes.
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 16 Oct. 51/3: We left the parties on the day after ‘passing the soft’ [...] the town was in a buzz of wonder at the magnitude, extent and audacity of the fraud.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 25 Oct. 76/1: [headline] A New Mode of Shoving the Soft.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor III 386/2: I would cut that game of ‘smatter-hauling’ [...] and do a little soft,’ (pass bad notes).|