barato n. cash or chips given by a gambler to onlookers for good luck.

Gamblers are a suspicious lot.  If they are on a winning streak, it only seems logical to share this good fortune with those surrounding witnesses who have played a role in his or her winnings, even if only doing nothing more than standing by and watching.  After all, you never know if one of those watching might be the source of good luck, and giving away money is a charitable act which should be rewarded by the gods of luck by continuing the winning streak.  At least that’s the theory behind today’s word.  Barato has a Spanish root meaning cheap, which seems to be the opposite of the meaning as defined above.  One can never quite tell about these things.

If, instead of sharing your wealth with those fortunate on-lookers, you decide to give it in the form of a tip to the dealer or other employee of the casino, this is known as a toke. The bigger your winnings, the bigger the toke. The Australians have a term for a large amount of money won at gambling – motser.

If tipping is your thing, there are lots of words, besides gratuity, that describe this action, regardless of whether the tip is given in relation to gambling.  These include:  baksheesh (a Middle Eastern term for tipping), bonamano (the Italian equivalent of a tip), cumshaw (a Chinese tip or present; the word meaning with grateful thanks), dash (this is a tip given in order to gain a favor), lagniappe, and lolly.  There are lots of other words, but you get the idea.  And don’t even get me started on bribe – there are about twenty uncommon terms for this very common action.  Of course, bribing the casino employee instead of tipping is generally frowned on.

Okay, put me down for $100 on red 14, and if I win, everyone gets a barato.


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  1. #1 by Abby Normann on March 31, 2017 - 3:29 am

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing issues with your website. It appears as though some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Kudos|

    • #2 by thewordmaven (David Settle) on April 15, 2017 - 9:35 pm

      Abby, sorry you experienced problems with my blog. I have not heard this complaint before. The formatting is controlled by the WordPress application, so there’s not much I can do about it. I will look and see if this is something experienced by others and if I find a fix, I’ll let you know. Hope you enjoy the postings. I am planning to become active once again, as it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new.

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