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Two bits vs Two-bit

two bits—(U.S. coll.) twenty five cents; a quarter coin:

  • Many saloons served the “choicest goods” and steam beer at two bits a glass.

two-bit—(U.S. coll., attrib.)

1. of smth. that costs a quarter of a dollar:

  • He smoked two-bit cigars and peered determinedly through steel-rimmed glasses.

2. (derog.) cheap; worthless:

  • But people who took the time to vote have to feel like the whole process was a two-bit hoax.

Cf.: ten-cent man—(U.S. derog.) a small, narrow-minded, trifling man:

  • Do you want a ten-cent man to fill a hundred-dollar job? How big a problem is this that you have demonstrated right here to me tonight?