any of various gold coins formerly issued in various parts of Europe, especially that first issued in Venice in 1284. Compare sequin ( def 2 ).
any of various silver coins formerly issued in various parts of Europe.
Slang. a ticket to a public performance.
ducats, Slang. money; cash.

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Old Italian ducato < Medieval Latin ducātus duchy; probably so called from the L words dux or ducātus, which formed part of the legends of such coins

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World English Dictionary
ducat (ˈdʌkət)
1.  any of various former European gold or silver coins, esp those used in Italy or the Netherlands
2.  (often plural) any coin or money
[C14: from Old French, from Old Italian ducato coin stamped with the doge's image, from duca doge, from Latin dux leader]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. ducat, from It. ducato, from M.L. ducatus "coin," originally "duchy," from dux (gen. ducis) "duke" (see duke). So called for the name or effigy of Roger II of Sicily, Duke of Apulia, which first issued the coins (c.1140). The legend on them read, "Sit
tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis, iste ducatus." Byzantine emperor Constantine X had the Gk. form doux struck on his coins during his reign (1059-1067). Over the years it was a unit of currency of varying value in Holland, Russia, Austria, Sweden, Venice, etc. Remained popular in slang for "money" or "ticket" from its prominence in "The Merchant of Venice."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl.
She met here with violent opposition, and great obstacles, and had no more than four or five ducats when she began the edifice.
Which by little and little rising of divers and sundry causes be increased above seven hundred thousand ducats by the year.
They contributed a huge pile of ducats to the city treasury.
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