Posted by: Jack Henry | July 2, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Under the Boardwalk

Hello all and happy holiday week!

Today I have some more vocabulary from Boardwalk Empire. You are probably familiar with the first two terms, Ponzi scheme and haymaker, and I bet you’ve heard an abbreviated version of the third word, vigorish. For a little flavor from 1910s and 1920s Atlantic City, here are the definitions and details for these three terms, from Merriam-Webster:

· Pon·zi scheme

An investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with the money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks

Origin of PONZI SCHEME[+]

after Charles A. Ponzi American (Italian-born) swindler

First Known Use: 1920

· haymaker
[KC – In this case, the reference was “a haymaker to the head.”]

1a : a worker who cuts and cures hay b : a machine for curing hay

2a : a powerful blow with the fist often resulting in a knockout b : an action or statement that is a stunning setback

· vig·or·ish plural -es

[KC – Fans of mafia flicks, police dramas, and the “crime and punishment” genre will recognize this as
“the vig.”]

1: a charge taken (as by a bookie or gambling house) on bets; also : the degree of such a charge <a vigorish of 5 percent>

2: interest paid to a moneylender

Origin of VIGORISH[+]

probably from Yiddish, from Russian vyigrysh winnings, profit

First Known Use: 1912 (sense 1)

Kara Church

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