Definition of pound noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//paʊnd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//paʊnd//
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  1. 1   [countable] (specialist pound sterling) (symbol £) the unit of money in the UK, worth 100 pence a ten-pound note a pound coin I've spent £25 on food today. What would you do if you won a million pounds? Total losses were estimated at over three million pounds. see also sterling CulturemoneyThe US dollar is made up of 100 cents. The Department of the Treasury prints bills (= paper money) in various denominations (= values): $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. US bills are all the same size, whatever their value, and measure about 2×6 inches/6.5×15.5 centimetres. All are green and are sometimes called greenbacks. On the front, each has a picture of a famous American. The dollar bill, for instance, shows George Washington, the first US president. An informal name for dollars is bucks, because in the early period of US history people traded the skins of bucks (= deer) and prices would sometimes be given as a number of buckskins. Buck refers to the dollar itself, and not to the bill. So although you can say 'He earns 500 bucks a week', you have to say ‘If I give you four quarters could you give me a dollar bill?’The Treasury also makes US coins: pennies which are worth .01 of a dollar, nickels (.05), dimes (.10) and quarters (.25). There are also half dollars (.50) and silver dollars but these are not often seen. Pennies have a dark brown colour; all the other coins have a silver appearance.When you write an amount in figures the dollar sign ($) goes to the left of the amount and a decimal point (.) is placed between the dollars and the cents. If the amount is less than one dollar, the cent sign (¢) is put after the numbers. So you write $5, $5.62 and 62¢.Britain's currency is the pound sterling, written as £ before a figure. A pound consists of 100 pence, written as p with figures. Pound coins are round and gold-coloured. They have the Queen's head on one side and one of four designs, English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish, on the other. The £2 coin is silver-coloured with a gold edge. Coins of lower value are the silver-coloured 50p, 20p, 10p and 5p pieces, and the copper-coloured 2p and 1p pieces. All are round, except for the 50p and 20p pieces which have seven curved sides. Coins are made at the Royal Mint. Paper notes (not bills), which have the Queen's head on one side and a famous person on the other, are worth £5, £10, £20 or £50.A pound is informally called a quid, a £5 note is a fiver, a £10 note is a tenner. Scottish banknotes have their own designs. They can be used anywhere in Britain, though shops can legally refuse to accept them. To prevent people forging (= making their own) paper money, designs are complicated and difficult to copy. To check that a note is genuine, a shop assistant may hold it up to the light to see if it has a narrow silver thread running through it.The decimal system now in use in Britain replaced the old pounds, shilling and pence, or LSD system in 1971. Formerly there were 12 pence or pennies in a shilling, and 20 shillings in a pound. The old coins included the farthing (= a quarter of a penny) and the half-crown (= two shillings and sixpence). There were notes for 10 shillings, £1 and £5.Gold guinea coins were used in the 18th century and were worth 21 shillings. Until 1971 prices were often set in guineas instead of pounds for luxury items, such as antiques and jewellery, for the fees of doctors, lawyers, etc., and at auctions, though the guinea coin had long since gone out of circulation. Some racehorses are still auctioned in guineas.On 1 January 1999 the euro system was introduced in 11 countries of the European Union. Britain chose not to be part of this first group and no date was fixed for Britain to start using the euro. However, many British businesses have euro bank accounts so as to be able to pay for goods and be paid in euros and a few shops in Britain accept payment in euros.
  2. 2   [countable] the unit of money of several other countries
  3. 3the pound [singular] (finance) the value of the British pound compared with the value of the money of other countries the strength/weakness of the pound (against other currencies) The pound closed slightly down at $1.534. The pound fell sharply to a record low against the yen. a run on the pound
  4. weight
  5. 4   [countable] (abbreviation lb) a unit for measuring weight, equal to 0.454 of a kilogram half a pound of butter They cost two dollars a pound. I've lost six and a half pounds since I started my diet.
  6. for cars
  7. 5[countable] a place where vehicles that have been parked illegally are kept until their owners pay to get them back
  8. for dogs
  9. 6[countable] a place where dogs that have been found in the street without their owners are kept until their owners claim them
  10. Word Originnoun senses 1 to 4 Old English pund, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch pond and German Pfund, from Latin (libra) pondo, denoting a Roman “pound weight” of 12 ounces. noun senses 5 to 6 late Middle English (earlier in compounds): of uncertain origin. Early use referred to an enclosure for holding stray or trespassing cattle.Idioms
    in for a penny, in for a pound
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    (saying) used to say that since you have started to do something, it is worth spending as much time or money as you need to in order to complete it
    (have, get, want, etc.) your pound of flesh
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    the full amount that somebody owes you, even if this will cause them trouble or suffering You’re determined to have your pound of flesh, aren’t you? From Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, in which the moneylender Shylock demanded a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body if he could not pay back the money he borrowed.
    prevention is better than cure (British English) (US English an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure)
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    (saying) it is better to stop something bad from happening rather than try to deal with the problems after it has happened
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pound