Posted by James Briggs on March 22, 2002
In Reply to: Pounds and quids posted by R. Berg on March 22, 2002
: : : : : : : : : : : I am interested in the derivation of the word 'dosh ' meaning money.
: : : : : : : : : : : Can anyone help?
: : : : : : : : : : My 1994 Collin's Dictionary says: 'British
and Australian slang for money. 20th century. Origin unknown.'
: : : : : : : : : : Hopefully, others can do a bit better! It's not recorded in my copy of the '1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.'
: : : : : : : : : I also am totally unable to track down any origins for dosh, but perhaps the following observation will soften the blow. We British have a huge number of slang terms for money or cash - to the extent that it's almost improbable. Wih no more than a moment's thought, I offer you the obvious "readies" and "wad", the more bizarre "wonga" and my personal utterly surreal favourite "spondoolicks" (sp?). There'll be plenty more - and this is before we even get into the slang for amounts of cash - monkeys and ponies, bottles, carpets and ladies to start with. But that's for another time.
: : : : : : : : I have never heard the word used in the U.S. I did find it in an American slang reference book, but its origin is unknown. To me it has the sound of "carny talk."
: : : : : : : Eric Partridge ("Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English") offers a speculation about its origin:
: : : : : : : DOSH. Money, esp. cash: Australian juvenile: since ca. 1944. . . . Perhaps a blend of "DOllars" + "caSH."
: : : : : : As long as we are on the subject, I'm curious about the word "quid". A quid, for those who aren't British, is a pound. It's sometimes referred to as a "squid" - just for fun as far as I can see. Has it always been a pound? It caused untold panic my first few days in London as I desperately studdied my money trying to find the quids.
: : : : : Always a pound £ (money, not weight) but, sadly, another one with absolutely no known origin.
: : : : Excuse me? The OED says "Originally, a pound weight of silver."
: : : Given that banknotes are effectively promissory notes (to such an extent that UK banknotes still all have "I promise to pay the bearer the sum of x pounds" written upon them and are signed by the chief cashier of the Bank of England), I have always presumed that the word "quid" came directly from the still-used Latin phrase a quid pro quo, something given in exchange for something else.
: : : Ms. Camel would have been even more confused had she come across the fairly recent coinages (no pun intended) of "squiddly" or even "squiddly diddly" to describe the simple pound sterling.
: : Ollie Octopus bumps into Sidney Squid one day,
: : "Hi Sidney, how are you?"
: : "Ab not too good really I hab a bit of a cold."
: : "That's just awful. Tell you what Sid, follow me."
: : And Sid does. They arrive at Wille Whales place where Ollie
: : "Willie, here's the six quid I owe you".
: : Sick quid == six quid, you see?
: : Anyway that's where the jokey use of "squid" for "quid" comes from.
: : I'm sure you all feel greatly enriched.
: Yes, we're all dolphin our hats to ya.
An anonymous pound of silver is not known as a 'quid'.
One of the first recorded uses of the term was in 1688. 'Quid', in the context of value, is only used in relation to currency and was originally either a Sovereign, based on Gold, or a Pound, which was based on silver .
Some years ago I thought I had stumbled across the origin, when I found a small village in Hampshire marked on a map. The village was called 'Quid'. I thought, perhaps, that there had been a Mint there. Researches turned up nothing; even worse, when I came to look for the village again, it was on no map that I had! Did I dream the whole story? or perhaps there is a 'Brigadoon'.
Personally, I like the 'quid pro quo' suggestion - it's the best I've come across over the years.