noun, plural John·nies for 1–3.

  1. (sometimes lowercase) a familiar term of address for a man or boy.
  2. (sometimes lowercase) Slang. a short, collarless gown that is fastened in back and is worn by hospital patients, persons being examined in a doctor’s office, etc.
  3. (lowercase) Slang. toilet; bathroom.
  4. a male given name, form of John.


  1. John CorneliusJohnnyRabbitJeep, 1906–70, U.S. jazz saxophonist.


  1. John EricJohnny, 1907–2003, U.S. jockey and thoroughbred horse trainer, born in England.


  1. Daniel,1749–1819, Scottish physician and chemist: discoverer of nitrogen.
  2. Ernest1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, 1871–1937, English physicist, born in New Zealand: Nobel Prize in chemistry 1908.
  3. John ShermanJohnny, born 1938, U.S. racing-car driver.
  4. Joseph Franklin,1869–1942, U.S. leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  5. Dame Margaret,1892–1972, British actress.
  6. a city in NE New Jersey.


  1. John ConstantineJohnnyJohnny U, 1933–2002, U.S. football player.


  1. Peter JohnJohnny, 1904–84, U.S. swimmer and film actor.


  1. JohnJohnny, 1932–2003, U.S. country-and-western singer, musician, and composer.

noun plural -nies British

  1. (often capital) informal a man or boy; chap
  2. a slang word for condom


  1. banknotes and coins, esp in hand or readily available; money or ready money
  2. immediate payment, in full or part, for goods or services (esp in the phrase cash down)
  3. (modifier) of, for, or paid by casha cash transaction
  4. the cash Canadian a checkout counter


  1. (tr) to obtain or pay ready money forto cash a cheque

noun plural cash

  1. any of various Chinese, Indonesian, or Indian coins of low value


  1. Johnny. 1932–2003, US country-and-western singer, guitarist, and songwriter. His recordings include the hits “I Walk the Line” (1956), “Ring of Fire” (1963), “A Boy named Sue” (1969), and the American Recordings series of albums (1994–2003)


  1. a unit of activity equal to the quantity of a radioactive nuclide required to produce one million disintegrations per secondAbbreviation: rd


  1. Ernest, 1st Baron. 1871–1937, British physicist, born in New Zealand, who discovered the atomic nucleus (1909). Nobel prize for chemistry 1908
  2. Dame Margaret . 1892–1972, British stage and screen actress. Her films include Passport to Pimlico (1949), Murder She Said (1962), and The VIPs (1963)
  3. Mark, original name William Hale White . 1831–1913, British novelist and writer, whose work deals with his religious uncertainties: best known for The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford (1881) and the novel The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane (1887)


  1. John Peter, known as Johnny . 1904–84, US swimmer and film actor, who won Olympic gold medals in 1924 and 1928 and played the title role in the early Tarzan films

pet form of masc. proper name John (see -y (3)). Used as a contemptuous or humorous designation for some class or group of men from 1670s (e.g. the typical name in the North and the Northern armies for a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War). In the Mediterranean, it was a typical name for an Englishman by c.1800; in the Crimean War, it became the typical name among the English for “a Turk,” later extended to “an Arab” (who by World War II were using it in turn as the typical name for “a British man”). Johnny-come-lately first attested 1839.


“to convert to cash” (as a check, etc.), 1811, from cash (n.). Related: Cashed; cashing.


1590s, “money box;” also “money in hand, coin,” from Middle French caisse “money box” (16c.), from Provençal caissa or Italian cassa, from Latin capsa “box” (see case (n.2)); originally the money box, but the secondary sense of the money in it became sole meaning 18c. Cash crop is attested from 1831; cash flow from 1954; the mechanical cash register from 1878.

Like many financial terms in English (bankrupt, etc.), ultimately from Italian. Not related to (but influencing the form of) the colonial British cash “Indian monetary system, Chinese coin, etc.,” which is from Tamil kasu, Sanskrit karsha, Sinhalese kasi.


  1. A loose short-sleeved gown opening in the back, worn by patients undergoing medical treatment or examination.


  1. A unit expressing the rate of decay of radioactive material, equal to one million disintegrations per second.

  1. New Zealand-born British physicist who classified radiation into alpha, beta, and gamma types and discovered the atomic nucleus. He won the 1908 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

  1. New Zealand-born British physicist who was a pioneer of subatomic physics. He discovered the atomic nucleus and named the proton. Rutherford demonstrated that radioactive elements give off three types of rays, which he named alpha, beta, and gamma, and invented the term half-life to measure the rate of radioactive decay. For this work he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1908.

In addition to the idioms beginning with cash

  • cash cow
  • cash in
  • cash on the barrelhead

also see:

  • cold cash

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