The British abbreviation for penny
is d - as in 10d; what word does the
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According to the Concise Oxford
Dictionary, in Latin denarius denotes "coin of
On the "d" = "denarius/denarii" MooT etymology
question, I would like to add two comments:
1. While the quotation from the Oxford Dictionary
was accurate for the word ' denarius', the recent (but not current) use of the
abbreviated "d" is specifically addressed therein under entry D III.
Abbreviations, etc. 1. "d stands for [Latin] denarius and so for 'penny',
'pence'; as 1d. = one penny, £.s.d. = pounds, shillings, pence". The £ or
pound sterling was originally, but certainly not presently, the value of a
pound (Latin 'librum') of silver. The 's' is not "shilling" but the Latin
solidus. The solidus (solidii) was a gold coin of the Roman Empire and worth
about 25 denarii. I believe the system 240d. = 20s. = £1 was in place since
the Norman Conquest. Prior to that the terms were in use but the numerical
2. On 15 February 1971,
he £.s.d. coinage was changed to a decimal system (£p) wherein 100p. = £1,
thus 2.4d. = 1p. When first introduced, the new coinage was minted and named
'new penny (pence)' and abbreviated 'p' to distinguish it from the old 'd'. As
the old coinage disappeared from circulation and people became familiar with
the system, the word 'new' was dropped. The 5p (= 1s.) coin is the smallest
denomination that corresponds with a coin of the old system, and one can still
hear the term 'shilling' occasionally applied. I enjoy your etymology
Richard B. Ward
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