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drachma

[drak-muh, drahk-] /ˈdræk mə, ˈdrɑk-/
noun, plural drachmas, drachmae
[drak-mee, drahk-] /ˈdræk mi, ˈdrɑk-/ (Show IPA)
1.
a cupronickel coin and monetary unit of modern Greece until the euro was adopted, equal to 100 lepta.
Abbreviation: dr., drch.
2.
the principal silver coin of ancient Greece.
3.
a small unit of weight in ancient Greece, approximately equivalent to the U.S. and British apothecaries' dram.
4.
any of various modern weights, especially a dram.
Also, drachm.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; < Latin < Greek drachmḗ, probably equivalent to drach- base of drássesthai to grasp + -mē noun suffix (hence literally, handful)
Related forms
drachmal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for drachmae

drachma

/ˈdrækmə/
noun (pl) -mas, -mae (-miː)
1.
the former standard monetary unit of Greece, divided into 100 lepta; replaced by the euro in 2002
2.
(US) another name for dram (sense 2)
3.
a silver coin of ancient Greece
4.
a unit of weight in ancient Greece
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Greek drakhmē a handful, from drassesthai to seize
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 drachmae

drachma

n.

1570s, from Greek drakhme, an Attic coin and weight, probably originally "a handful" (see dram). Earlier as dragme (late 14c.), from Old French dragme, from Medieval Latin dragma.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for drachmae

drachma

silver coin of ancient Greece, dating from about the mid-6th century BC, and the former monetary unit of modern Greece. The drachma was one of the world's earliest coins. Its name derives from the Greek verb meaning "to grasp," and its original value was equivalent to that of a handful of arrows. The early drachma had different weights in different regions. From the 5th century BC, Athens gained commercial preeminence, and the Athenian drachma became the foremost currency. One drachma equaled 6 oboli; 100 drachmas equaled 1 mine; and 60 mine equaled 1 Attic talent.

Learn more about drachma with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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16
17
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