Words-worth: Money

Some people worship money and maybe that's how it should be, given the word's origins.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The word 'money' came into English from French in the 14th century. The French, in turn, got it from the Latin moneta. Moneta was a title of the goddess Juno and meant something like 'She who reminds'. In Republican times, Roman money was coined next to the temple of Juno Moneta, on the Capitoline Hill, so her name came to mean 'mint', 'money' and 'coinage'.

In Anglo-Norman and medieval English the word referred to coins (as does the modern French monnaie) and was not used for banknotes until they became widespread in the 19th century. But it also referred to wealth generally. To 'make money', meaning to earn it rather than printing it or stamping it out of metal, dates from the 15th century.

Money has talked since the 19th century and made the world go round since the 1920s. You can also do things 'for the money', or be 'on the money' or 'in the money'. But doesn't the Bible say money is 'the root of all evil'? No, it's 'the love of money'. A distinction worth remembering.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime