I remember hear the topic location in a rap track (can’t psychic which, could be Eminem), and there it seems ~ to be movies named after this pattern: Two for the Money through Al Pacino and also One because that the Money, an upcoming comedy.

You are watching: One for the money two for the show

Urban Dictionary does no seem to recognize this expression, neither does dict.cc give a suitable translation.

What does that mean and where does the come from?



My impression is the

One because that the money. 2 for the show. 3 to make ready. And also four to go.

(or "three to obtain ready" in modern-day derekwadsworth.com) is something that children say when they start a race (the running starting on "go"). Anyway, it"s appears in this 1872 book, (it"s not a gyeongju here, however FumbleFingers has actually found one more 1872 citation where it is provided for a race).

I would certainly assume that "the money" describes the prize for winning, and "the show" come the spectacle that the race. Generally, a children"s gyeongju won"t have either of this (unlike, say a experienced horse race), however it doesn"t hurt come pretend.


I very first heard it in Blue Suede Shoes composed by Carl Perkins in 1955 (decades prior to Eminem was also born), and also popularised through Elvis Presley a year later. Yet all credit to
Peter Shor for stating that the was around a an extremely long time prior to that. I discovered a different instance to Peter, but they"re both indigenous 1872.

Possibly it"s an allusion come the idea the the performer renders one (the first) effort due to the fact that he"s acquiring paid for it, and two (the second) due to the fact that he just likes performing. Or maybe it"s one because that the performer"s money, and also two for the re-publishing going come the venue. After that it"s simply counting in to the start of the main action.

It was originally three to make ready, but that sound a little bit dated to our ears. This day it"s invariably three to acquire ready except for the title of an illustration in the 60s TV collection My favourite Martian.



The The Oxford thesaurus of Nursery Rhymes and The phrase Finder mention a steed race poem that is most likely the resource of the phrase. In steed racing, the winners room termed:


The omission of "place" is provided in The phrase Finder. This is likely poetic license, to do a quick rhyme, supplied to start a race or event.

Exerpt native The expression Finder post:

In "The Annotated mother Goose" p 259 the adhering to rhyme is included:

One to make ready

And two to prepare

good luck come the rider

And far goes the mare.

In ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, Elvis Presley sang:

Well, it"s one for the money, / 2 for the show, / 3 to obtain ready, / now go, cat, go.

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I’m not sure it method very lot at all.

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