How the world’s currencies got their names

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4716327-Money-World-currencies-U-S-dollars-pounds-and-euros-Banknotes-and-coins-Stock-PhotoFrom country to country, monetary units vary nearly as much as the cultures and languages that use them. But have you ever wondered why a dollar is called a “dollar”?

 

A recent post on the Oxford Dictionary’s OxfordWords blog explained the origins of the names of the world’s most common currencies.

Below, find out where these everyday words come from.

Dollar

The dollar is the world’s most common currency, used in the US, Australia, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, and Singapore and elsewhere.

According to OxfordWords, the Flemish or Low German word “joachimsthal” referred to Joachim’s Valley, where silver was once mined. Coins minted from this mine became “joachimsthaler,” which was later shortened to “thaler” and which eventually morphed into “dollar.”

Peso

“Peso” literally means “weight” in Spanish.

Lira

The Italian and Turkish “lira” come from the Latin word “libra,” meaning “pound.”

Mark

Before the euro, the Deutsche mark and the Finnish markka also draw their names from units of weight.

Rial

The Latin word “regalis,” meaning “royal,” is the origin for the Omani and Iranian “rial.”

Similarly, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen all use a currency called the “riyal.” Before the euro, Spain used “reals” as well.

Rand

Like the dollar, South Africa’s rand comes from the Dutch name for the South African city Witwatersrand, an area rich in gold.

Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, and Korean won

The Chinese character “?,” meaning “round” or “round coin,” is responsible for the name of the Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, and Korean won.

Crown

Many Scandinavian countries use a currency that derives from the Latin word “corona,” meaning “crown.”

Sweden’s krona, Norway’s krone, Denmark’s krone, Iceland’s króna, and the Estonian kroon (now replaced by the euro), and the Czech Republic’s koruna all derive from the same Latin root.

Dinar

Jordan, Algeria, Serbia, and Kuwait all call their currency “dinar.”

This is a pretty straightforward truncation of the Latin word “denarius,” which was a silver coin used in ancient Rome.

Rupee

The Sanskrit word for wrought silver is “rupya,” which lends its name to the Indian and Pakistani rupee, as well as Indonesia’s rupiah.

Pound

The British pound is derived from the Latin word “poundus” meaning “weight.”

Egypt, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria call their currency pound.

Ruble

Russia’s and Belarus’ ruble are named after a measure of weight for silver.

Zloty

“Zloty” is the Polish word for “golden.”

Forint

The Hungarian forint comes from the Italian word “fiorino,” a gold coin from Florence.

The fiorino had a flower, or “fiore” in Italian, stamped on it.

Ringgit

When coins were minted in precious metals, thieves would shave off small portions of the metal to create new coins.

To combat this, countries began minting coins with jagged edges.

The Malaysian word for jagged is “ringgit,” the name of the currency.

 

-BusinessInsider

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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