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  1. #1
    Aamir Tariq is offline Senior Member
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    The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    In the United States the informal expression "Pony up the dough" is used in two contexts.

    (1st Context) (Where it is used by muggers, robbers, etc in undesirable situations)

    Let's suppose you are out on the street going somewhere probably at mid-night and all of a sudden a mugger appears from nowhere and holds you at a gun point and says. "Pony up the dough" where it means "give me all the money/cash you have".

    Similarly, if your responsibility is to receive cash payments from clients at a cash counter at your workplace and one day a gang of robbers breaks into the buildings and one of them says "Pony up the dough" to you, he means "put all the cash on the table". or give him all the cash out of the drawer.

    (2nd context) (Where it is used by decent and educated people in formal settings)

    Now the same expression is used by decent people in a more formal setting like at banks where you are going to deposit your money and the cashier at the cash counter asks you to "Pony up the dough", he wants you to pay him the money. Where "Pony up" means "to pay" and "the dough" means "cash".

    Am I right in my definitions and the way I explained them?

    Is the expression "Pony up the dough" is also understood by native speakers of English language in countries other than the United States and Canada?

    If not, what is the equivalent of the same expression in countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand?

    Regards,
    Aamir the Global Citizen

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Moderator
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    Pony up is slang, and has connotations of unpleasantness. If you belong to an organization, a condominium for example, that unexpectedly requires you to make additional financial contributions, you have to pony up. If your stockbroker gives you a margin call, you have to pony up. And if the mob is extorting money from you, again you pony up. I would never expect to hear pony up in an ordinary business context such as your bank example.

  3. #3
    Aamir Tariq is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    So my example in the 2nd context is wrong. Thanks for confirming it is used by Canadians just as I thought.

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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    I would never expect to hear it in the first context either. While it does have a negative connotation, it's not really forceful enough to indicate robbery or violent crime, etc. It has more of a connotation of a sudden, unexpected expense or payment, or something owed.

    I might have to pony up when I lose a bet for example, but not when I'm being mugged.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    probus's Avatar
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    I would not be surprised if a mugger said pony up.

  6. #6
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    He/she would be met with a baffled look by most Brits if he/she tried to mug us! I know the phrase from American films but it's not used here.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. #7
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    I would not be surprised if a mugger said pony up.
    I would. "Pony up" is about paying money that's owed or required. If it's being stolen from you, you're not ponying up. You're coughing up or forking over.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. #8
    Aamir Tariq is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by Skrej View Post
    I would never expect to hear it in the first context either. While it does have a negative connotation, it's not really forceful enough to indicate robbery or violent crime, etc. It has more of a connotation of a sudden, unexpected expense or payment, or something owed.

    I might have to pony up when I lose a bet for example, but not when I'm being mugged.
    You got it slightly wrong. What I meant in my question was for instant, God forbids, a person gets mugged, or a robbery happens at a bank or somewhere. And the mugger or criminal is asking you to "Pony up the dough". Which has been made clear in the next post. Anyway thanks each and everyone of you for contributing your valuable thoughts and help on my posts. I appreciate each and everyone of you a lot.

    Regards,
    Aamir the Global Citizen

  9. #9
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by Aamir Tariq View Post
    In the United States the informal expression "Pony up the dough" is used in two contexts.

    (1st Context) (Where it is used by muggers, robbers, etc in undesirable situations)

    Let's suppose you are out on the street going somewhere probably at mid-night and all of a sudden a mugger appears from nowhere and holds you at a gun point and says. "Pony up the dough" where it means "give me all the money/cash you have".

    No. A mugger might say "cough it up" or fork it over." To pony up is to pay money that is owed, expected, or required:

    - If you want a slice of this pizza, pony up your three dollars.
    - I said I'd contribute to the collection. I guess it's time I ponied up.
    - We've all put in our ten bucks but you! Come on! Pony up!


    Similarly, if your responsibility is to receive cash payments from clients at a cash counter at your workplace and one day a gang of robbers breaks into the buildings and one of them says "Pony up the dough" to you, he means "put all the cash on the table". or give him all the cash out of the drawer.

    Again, no. If you're being robbed, you don't owe the money, so you're not ponying up for anything.


    (2nd context) (Where it is used by decent and educated people in formal settings)

    Now the same expression is used by decent people in a more formal setting like at banks where you are going to deposit your money and the cashier at the cash counter asks you to "Pony up the dough", he wants you to pay him the money. Where "Pony up" means "to pay" and "the dough" means "cash".

    "Pony up" does mean "pay," but your usage is wrong. Making a bank deposit is not ponying up. A bank teller would never tell you to pony up.


    Am I right in my definitions and the way I explained them?

    You're right that "dough" is old-fashioned slang for "money." The rest is wrong. See above.


    Is the expression "Pony up the dough" is also understood by native speakers of English language in countries other than the United States and Canada?

    I don't know. Other similar Americanisms include:


    - pay up
    - pay to play
    - pay the piper
    - put your money where your mouth is
    - put some skin in the game


    If not, what is the equivalent of the same expression in countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand?

    Regards,
    Aamir the Global Citizen
    We need to clarify something.

    "Pony up" is a very informal expression that is used among friends when it's time to fulfill a commitment to pay money.

    It is not what you say when you rob someone, because the victim doesn't owe you the money.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 03-Dec-2017 at 04:23.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  10. #10
    Tarheel's Avatar
    Tarheel is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The expression "Pony Up the Dough" in American English

    I've been mugged a couple of times. I can't remember what was said, but I'm pretty sure they didn't say pony up.

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