n. — historical, informal, slang
a two-dollar bank note.
Type: 3. Semantic Change — The two-dollar bill was replaced in 1996 by the toonie, the two-dollar coin. Deuce originates with the French for 'two,' deux, and has been used in English since the 16th century in dice and card games; until at least the late 19th-century, a two-pence coin in the UK was informally called a deuce (OED-3, s.v. "deuce", (n1(4)). The Canadian meaning might have been transferred to the Canadian context and may have elements of a Preservation (Type 2), besides the more general qualities of a Semantic Change (Type 3).
See also COD-2, s.v. "deuce" (4a), which is marked "Cdn hist.".
See also: toonie
- 1955  A SHORT year ago a wagering man could get fairly high odds had he preferred to risk a deuce or two against the possibility of any mermaid or merman cracking the swimming barrier of cold and tricky Lake Ontario.
- 1967  There was a time, not long ago, when even a deuce was considered to be quite important folding money in most circles.
- 1978  A week later she was ready to go again, and Perry entered her in another race, again for $8,000 but this time against other fillies and mares. Her backers collected about $12.00 for every deuce wagered.
- 1984  In this Disneyland with a difference, you won't find Mickey or Minny, with her endearingly oversized pumps, but a dead mouse, its grey, withered corpse laid to rest on cash, with a deuce for a blanket and a five-dollar bill to cushion its lifeless head.
- 1990  With the death of the $1 bill last year, replaced by the new loonie coin, the deuce is once again changing hands in the Saskatchewan city of Moose Jaw and throughout the Prairies.
- 1996  The era ends Feb. 19 when the Royal Canadian Mint introduces its much heralded two-dollar coin, ringing the death knell for the deuce note.
- 2005  The drill back then was to go up to the bar, order a beer, tip the guy a deuce, then say to him: "I'll be in the washroom."
Image 1: A deuce, a two-dollar bill. Photo: http://www.coinsandcanada.com/