We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What does "Money Talks" Mean?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

When someone makes a comment that “money talks”, the idiom is usually referring to a situation where the use of financial resources helps to pave the way for a desired action or ending to occur. At its heart, the use of this saying indicates that when other methods fail, offering cash to someone who is in a position to accomplish this desired end will ensure the proper outcome. While the exact verbiage may vary somewhat, there are a number of idioms that convey the same sentiment.

The origin of “money talks” is a matter of some controversy among linguists and folklorists. Many believe that the money talks idiom has its roots in the American culture of the 19th century, although the general sentiment behind the phrase goes back for centuries. Others believe that idioms within this family more rightly can be attributed to medieval England, and had to do with the use of money and power to annex surrounding estates, often by promising villagers in the area that the standard of living would improve significantly under a new landowner.

Regardless of the origins, there is no doubt that “money talks” continues to be utilized extensively in modern society. These sayings often focus on the ability of rich people to circumvent the usual channels in order to gain access to various goods and services. For example, someone who is willing to discreetly slip a gratuity to the right individual can often wait less time for a table in a restaurant, move to the head of the line at a nightclub, or gain access to any number of other services that increase personal satisfaction.

While the use of "money talks" is often done tongue in cheek and possibly with a small amount of amusement, there are also times when the use of this idiom carries negative connotations. This is particularly true where there is suspicion that money was used to predetermine the outcome of a political election, help someone avoid going to prison for a crime committed, or to keep some type of public scandal from coming to light.

One of the reasons that “money talks" is such a widely used phrase or idiom is that it perfectly describes the situation of tapping into the greed of another person in order to satisfy a personal want or need. This phenomenon is found in every culture and is common enough for everyone to understand what is meant when the words “money talks” are uttered.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including Language & Humanities, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon182136 — On Jun 01, 2011

Personally, I think the origin is somewhere in the Minnesota area or maybe near Seattle where folks of Scandenavian descent say "manga taks" as in "many thanks". Imagine a waitress picking up a tip and saying "manga taks". A non-Scandenavian might easily mis-hear that and believe it is a comment on what ensures good service (money talks).

Just a thought.

By DentalFloss — On Nov 11, 2010

@behaviourism, I have also seen that in the United States. While it seems like the idea of "money talks" might be a good thing, the problem is that it often talks even if you aren't trying to say anything. People will see you, and think you can provide for them, make demands, and the money that seemed helpful actually hurts you.

By behaviourism — On Nov 11, 2010

The sad part is that in some parts of the world, the situations people think of when they say "money talks" still go on. Things like government situations, shopping, transportation, and anything else are still very much a part of culture. In some parts of Europe, for example, especially if people know you're American, they expect tips for everything and sometimes will refuse service places until you offer money.

By anon51900 — On Nov 10, 2009

A common use of this in America is the full phrase "Money talks, bulls**t walks."

This phrase is uttered in tough negotiating situations where the seller does not trust the buyer.

You will frequently see this used in movies, but it's pretty rare in real life.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.