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[shil-ing] /ˈʃɪl ɪŋ/
a cupronickel coin and former monetary unit of the United Kingdom, the 20th part of a pound, equal to 12 pence: retained in circulation equal to 5 new pence after decimalization in 1971.
Abbreviation: s.
a former monetary unit of various other nations, as Australia, Fiji, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Nigeria, equal to one twentieth of a pound or 12 pence.
the monetary unit of Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda, equal to 100 cents.
any of various coins and moneys of account used in various parts of the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries.
before 900; Middle English; Old English scilling; cognate with Dutch schelling, German Schilling, Old Norse skillingr, Gothic skillings Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shillings
  • He apparently sued over debts as small as two shillings.
  • Maximum pay for building craftsmen was set at two shillings a day.
  • Breaking the law would cost customer and craftsman ten shillings apiece.
British Dictionary definitions for shillings


a former British and Australian silver or cupronickel coin worth one twentieth of a pound: not minted in Britain since 1970 Abbreviation s, sh
the standard monetary unit of Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda: divided into 100 cents
an old monetary unit of the US varying in value in different states
(in combination) (Scot) an indication of the strength and character of a beer, referring to the price after duty that was formerly paid per barrel: sixty-shilling, /-
Word Origin
Old English scilling; related to Old Norse skillingr, Gothic skilliggs, Old High German skilling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shillings



Old English scilling, a coin consisting of a varying number of pence (on the continent, a common scale was 12 pennies to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound), from Proto-Germanic *skillingoz- (cf. Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Old Frisian, Old High German skilling, Old Norse skillingr, Dutch schelling, German Schilling, Gothic skilliggs).

Some etymologists trace this to the root *skell- "to resound, to ring," and others to the root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (perhaps via sense of "shield" from resemblance or as a device on coins; see shield (n.)). The ending may represent the diminutive suffix -ling, or Germanic -ing "fractional part" (cf. farthing). Old Church Slavonic skulezi, Polish szelang, Spanish escalin, French schelling, Italian scellino are loan-words from Germanic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with shillings
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for shillings


former English and British coin, nominally valued at one-twentieth of a pound sterling, or 12 pence. The shilling was also formerly the monetary unit of Australia, Austria, New Zealand, and Ireland. Today it is the basic monetary unit in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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