Wondrous Words Wednesday: money

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

In keeping with last week’s post, I found something interesting in the book I am currently reading, The Earth: An Intimate History by Richard Fortey. Although it’s not really “new words”, I found it interesting enough to share.

Fortey explains the etymology of the word dollar:

As for the name — dollar — it has a geological history.
One can find the same word in Danish, daler. In due turn, this is a variant of thaler. The thaler was the standard silver coinage across Europe in the fifteenth century. […] Further, the name thaler was itself a contraction from Joachimsthaler, referring to the mine at Joachimsthal (the valley of Joachim) from which the silver was obtained. […] The town will be found on modern maps under the name of Jachymov. So the Joachimsthaler became the thaler, which became the dollar.

I wonder if this thaler is the same as the rix-dollar I found here and discussed in a previous Wondrous Words post

Now, at the beginning of the same chapter, Fortey writes of the dollar:

The most ordinary thing in the world, a scrap of paper: a buck, a greenback.

Again, these words I knew, but it made me think: how many words are there to say “dollar”? The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus reports:

Synonyms: bone [slang], buck, clam, one, smacker [slang]
Related Words: greenback; dead presidents [slang]

Do you know any other?

Post Scriptum: This may be my last Wondrous Words post for a while, because I will be traveling for a few weeks and I don’t know that I will have time for blogging…


9 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: money

  1. I’ve heard smackeroo, but I’m sure that’s just smacker fancied up. Benjamin is used for a hundred dollar bill. This was a really interesting post – thanks for sharing!

  2. @ Julie: thanks for the links, it’s fun to explore all those names! Now I’m curious as to the etymology of many…
    @ Louise: that’s why I found etymology so fascinating!

  3. Very interesting and I think this definitely qualifies for a Wondrous Words post. The only addition I can think of is the slang terms used for the person who is pictured on the dollar bill. Example: a “George” for a $1 or an “Abe” for a $5.

  4. … which I will never ever get, because I cannot for the life of me remember which president is on which bill… (luckily for me I don’t live in the States, haha). Thank you for the input!

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