So, Why Do We Call A Pound A 'Quid'?

The answer is pretty complicated.
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You might not know that Scotland has over 420 words for snow. But you’re probably aware that English speakers have an awful, awful lot of different words for “money”.

Dosh. Moolah. Paper. We’ve gotten so good at referencing cash without actually naming it that we’ve got slang for specific sums ― a rack, a grand, a Benjamin (in the US), and of course the humble ‘quid’.

But how did the latter get its “odd-when-I-think-about-it” name to begin with?

We’re not definite, but there are some interesting theories

The word is really, really old ― it’s been in use since the 1600s, says.

In all that time, it’s never taken on a different plural form. £1 is “a quid,” and £20 is “20 quid.”

According to Investopedia, “Some scholars believe that Italian immigrants extracted the term from ‘scudo,’ the name for gold and silver coins of various denominations used in Italy from the 16th century through the 19th century.”

Other people think it refers to “quid pro quo,” a Latin phrase that Merriam-Webster defines as “a giving or taking of one thing of value in return for another.”

Irish speakers use the word “cuid” to mean a “share” or “part” of everything from time to prizes to pay.

When following “mo” (meaning “my”), it turns into “mo chuid” (said “moh quid” meaning “my part,” “my pay” by extension), which some think English people adapted from Irish soldiers in an older British army.

Ultimately, “although there are many popular theories about how the word quid came to be used in relation to money, the origin of the term is uncertain,” says.

Some words like “quid” have changed definition

Though most of us understand a “quid” to mean a pound, you might not know that a “bob” wasn’t just a vague term for “a sum of money” when it came out ― it actually meant a shilling.

A sixpence went by the now-defunct “tanner” and “bender,” The Brittania Coin Company says.

“It’s because of this latter nickname that we now refer to getting drunk as ‘going on a bender’ – sixpence used to be enough money to get quite drunk,” they add.