- a paper money, silver or cupronickel coin, and monetary unit of the United States, equal to 100 cents. Symbol: $
- a silver or nickel coin and monetary unit of Canada, equal to 100 cents. Symbol: $
- 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.
- Also called ringgit. a cupronickel coin and monetary unit of Brunei, equal to 100 sen.
- a thaler.
- a peso.
- Levant dollar.
- yuan(def 1).
- British Slang. (formerly)
- five-shilling piece; crown.
- the sum of five shillings.
- the standard monetary unit of the US and its dependencies, divided into 100 cents
- the standard monetary unit, comprising 100 cents, of the following countries or territories: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kiribati, Liberia, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, and Zimbabwe
- British informal (formerly) five shillings or a coin of this value
- look or feel (like) a million dollars informal to look or feel extremely well
1550s, from Low German daler, from German taler (1530s, later thaler), abbreviation of Joachimstaler, literally “(gulden) of Joachimstal,” coin minted 1519 from silver from mine opened 1516 near Joachimstal, town in Erzgebirge Mountains in northwest Bohemia. German Tal is cognate with English dale.
The thaler was a large silver coin of varying value in the German states (and a unit of the German monetary union of 1857-73 equal to three marks); it also served as a currency unit in Denmark and Sweden. English colonists in America used the word in reference to Spanish pieces of eight. Continental Congress July 6, 1785, adopted dollar when it set up U.S. currency, on suggestion of Gouverneur Morris and Thomas Jefferson, because the term was widely known but not British. But none were circulated until 1794.
When William M. Evarts was Secretary of State he accompanied Lord Coleridge on an excursion to Mount Vernon. Coleridge remarked that he had heard it said that Washington, standing on the lawn, could throw a dollar clear across the Potomac. Mr. Evarts explained that a dollar would go further in those days than now. [Walsh]
The dollar sign ($) is said to derive from the image of the Pillars of Hercules, stamped with a scroll, on the Spanish piece of eight. Phrase dollars to doughnuts attested from 1890; dollar diplomacy is from 1910.
In addition to the idiom beginning with dollars
- dollars to doughnuts, it’s
- feel like a million dollars
- look like a million dollars
- you can bet your ass (bottom dollar)