Pound (currency)

The pound is a unit of currency in some nations. The term originated in Great Britain as the value of a pound (weight) of silver.[1]

The English word pound is cognate with, among others, German Pfund, Dutch pond, and Swedish pund. All ultimately derive from a borrowing into Proto-Germanic of the Latin expression lībra pondō ("a pound by weight"), in which the word pondō is the ablative case of the Latin noun pondus ("weight"). The English word "pound" first referred to a unit of mass or weight; the monetary pound originated as a pound (by weight) of silver.[2]

The currency's symbol is £, a stylised representation of the letter L, standing for livre or lira. Historically, £1 worth of silver coins were a troy pound in weight; in August 2016 this amount of silver was worth approximately £170 sterling.

Today, the term may refer to a number of (primarily British and related) currencies and a variety of obsolete currencies. Some of them, those official in former Italian states and in countries formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire, are called pound in English, while in the local languages their official name is lira.

Countries currently using the pound or similar

Countries Currency ISO 4217 code
 United Kingdom Pound sterling GBP
 Egypt Egyptian pound EGP
 Lebanon Lebanese pound LBP
 South Sudan South Sudanese pound SSP
 Sudan Sudanese pound SDG
 Syria Syrian pound SYP

Current currencies

Countries where the official currency is called "pound"

Equal exchange rate

The following currencies are interchangeable at par with the pound sterling. These are issued in the Crown dependencies and certain British Overseas Territories:

Market Pound
 Saint Helena Saint Helena pound
 Ascension Island
 Tristan da Cunha
 Falkland Islands Falkland Islands pound
 Gibraltar Gibraltar pound
 Guernsey Guernsey pound
 Isle of Man Manx pound
 Jersey Jersey pound

Historical currencies

Currencies of the former British colonies in America

All of the following currencies have been replaced by the US dollar.

See also


  1. Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. Oxford English Dictionary, entry "pound"
  3. "Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Antarctic Territory". Archived from the original on 2003-09-02.
  4. Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  5. Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Indian Ocean Territory Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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