dollar


dollar
/dol"euhr/, n.
1. a paper money, silver or cupronickel coin, and monetary unit of the United States, equal to 100 cents. Symbol: $
2. a silver or nickel coin and monetary unit of Canada, equal to 100 cents. Symbol: $
3. any of the monetary units of various other nations, as Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Liberia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe, equal to 100 cents.
4. Also called ringgit. a cupronickel coin and monetary unit of Brunei, equal to 100 sen.
5. ringgit (def. 1).
6. a thaler.
7. a peso.
9. yuan (def. 1).
10. Brit. Slang. (formerly)
a. five-shilling piece; crown.
b. the sum of five shillings.
[1545-55; earlier daler < LG, D daler; c. G Taler, short for Joachimsthaler coin minted in Joachimsthal in Bohemia]

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      originally, a silver coin that circulated in many European countries; in modern times, the name of the standard monetary unit in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. The Spanish peso, or piece of eight, which circulated in the Spanish and English colonies in America, was known as a dollar by the English-speaking peoples. Familiarity with this coin resulted in the official designation of the United States monetary unit as the dollar in 1792. Canada adopted the dollar and monetary decimal system in 1858; Australia in 1966; and New Zealand in 1967.

      The word itself is a modified form of the Germanic word thaler, a shortened form of Joachimst(h)aler, the name of a silver coin first struck in 1519 under the direction of the count of Schlick, who had appropriated a rich silver mine discovered in St. Joachimsthal (Joachim's dale), Bohemia. These coins were current in Germany from the 16th century onward, with the various spelling modifications such as daler, dalar, daalder, and tallero. Only in 1873 was the thaler replaced by the mark as the German monetary unit.

      In the United States, paper money has been issued in dollar amounts since 1861. Portraits of American political figures appear on the various denominations of U.S. banknotes:

denomination
portrait on bill
$1
George Washington
$2
Thomas Jefferson
$5
Abraham Lincoln
$10
Alexander Hamilton
$20
Andrew Jackson
$50
Ulysses S. Grant
$100
Benjamin Franklin
$500
William McKinley
$1,000
Grover Cleveland
$5,000
James Madison
$10,000
Salmon P. Chase

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Universalium. 2010.

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