Why Is A Pound Called A Quid?

Have you ever been curious about the origin of the name ‘quid’ that is used to represent the pound (£) currency in the United Kingdom? It’s not a secret that the currency of the UK is called ‘pounds’, but why is it also referred to as ‘quid’? This phrase has been used in Britain for centuries, and this article will delve into its history to explain why a pound is called a ‘quid’.

So – if you have ever been curious about the phrase’s history – then this article is for you! Let’s look into the history of the quid and discover its origins together!

What is a Pound?

A pound is the currency used in the United Kingdom. It is one of the oldest currencies in the world and has been in circulation since Anglo-Saxon times.

It is officially known as the pound sterling, which is often shortened to just the pound or “sterling. ” The pound is divided into 100 pence.

What is a Quid?

A “quid” is a slang term used to refer to the British pound. The origin of the word “quid” is debated, but it is believed to come from the Latin word quid, which means “what.

” The earliest version of the word “quid” dates back to the 16th century and was used to refer to a guinea, which was a British gold coin. In the 20th century, the term was used to refer to any paper money and later began to be used to only refer to the British pound.

Why is a Pound Called a Quid?

The exact origin of why pounds are referred to as quids is uncertain, but there are a few theories about why this is the case.

Ease of Use

One of the most popular theories is that the term “quid” was easier to say than the actual name of the currency and thus was adopted over time. This theory is supported by the fact that the term “quid” did not necessarily have to be linked to the pound, as it was used to refer to guineas and other currencies.

Scots Dialect

Another popular theory is that the word “quid” came from the Scots dialect, in which the word “quid” was used to refer to money in general.

While this is not necessarily an explanation as to why the slang term “quid” is specifically used to refer to pounds and not other currencies, it is a likely source of the slang term.

Latin Root

A final theory is that the word “quid” originates from the Latin quid meaning “what,” as this term was commonly used in the 16th century by merchants. This theory is supported by the fact that the use of the word “quid” to refer to money and eventually the pound can be traced back to the 16th century.


Overall, while the exact origin of why the pound is referred to as a “quid” is uncertain, there are a few likely explanations as to why this term has come to be adopted. The term is likely a combination or result of the ease of use, the Scots dialect and the Latin root “quid. ”

Leave a Comment