The term “dollar” comes from the German word “Thaler,” short for “Joachimsthaler,” which referred to coins minted in the town of Joachimsthal in Bohemia (now J├íchymov in the Czech Republic). The word “Thaler” itself is derived from the German word “Tal,” meaning “valley.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*del-” means “to divide” or “to cut,” which is related to the concept of a valley being a division in the landscape.

2. German

From the PIE root, the German word “Tal” (valley) developed. The coin “Thaler” was named after Joachimsthal, the “valley of Joachim,” where these coins were first minted in the early 16th century.

3. Dutch (c. 16th to 17th century CE)

The German term “Thaler” was adopted into Dutch as “daler” or “daalder,” referring to large silver coins.

4. English (c. 17th century CE)

The Dutch “daler” was adopted into English as “dollar,” used to describe various large silver coins, including Spanish pesos which circulated widely in the American colonies and were known as “Spanish dollars.”

5. Modern English (from 18th century CE to present)

The term “dollar” evolved into its current form and usage, referring to the basic monetary unit of several countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and others.

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “dollar” has remained relatively stable, transitioning from Dutch “daler” to Modern English “dollar.”

Usage Examples

  • “She paid ten dollars for the book.”
  • “Another example of ‘dollar’ in a sentence is ‘The dollar is strong against the euro this week.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “dollar” was significantly influenced by its use in describing large silver coins that circulated widely in Europe and the Americas during the early modern period. The Spanish dollar, also known as the “piece of eight,” was particularly influential in shaping the concept of the dollar in North America.

The word “dollar” reflects the importance of standardized currency in trade and economics, emphasizing the role of the dollar in facilitating commerce, measuring value, and serving as a medium of exchange in various countries’ economies.