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How The Worlds Most Common Currencies Got Their Names


How The Worlds Most Common Currencies Got Their Names

From 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’, or why the British punds is called ‘pounds’? 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.

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” literally means “weight” in Spanish.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The British pound is derived from the Latin word “poundus” meaning “weight.” Egypt, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria call their currency pound.

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

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

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.

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.

Moji is a Lawyer, online media aficionado, communications strategist, and entrepreneur in her early 30’s. Her zest and energy to succeed coupled with her very strong interpersonal skills has seen her building her blog from just a passionate hobby to a strong platform for social influence and brand. Today she has expanded to having her own company SMD Media. SMD Media consults for large corporates drawn especially from the Finance, Technology, Advertising and Media, Creative Arts sectors, where her brand has grown significant leverage and contacts. She is also the pioneer Chairperson of the Digital Media Practitioners of Nigeria-DMPN, an Association whose vision is to influence on a larger scale for a greater good to impact lives positively, ensure the standardisation and the continuous enthronement of ethical practises within the digital space . Moji is a lover of the Arts, Fashion and Entertainment with a strong plan to own her own shoe/bag line, record label, Movie production company among other things.



  1. Mannyxander

    June 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Wow, I love articles like this, they are very informative. Good job moji.

    Manny the long lost MDB’er

  2. Bomi

    June 23, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Cool, but it would have been cooler if you add the Nigerian currency #Naira…
    #SupportProudlyNigeria #BeProudOfNigeria #PromoteNigeria #AdvertiseNigeria.

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