cur·​ren·​cy | \ˈkər-ən(t)-sē, ˈkə-rən(t)-\
plural currencies

Definition of currency 

1a : circulation as a medium of exchange

b : general use, acceptance, or prevalence a story gaining currency

c : the quality or state of being current : currentness needed to check the accuracy and currency of the information

2a : something (such as coins, treasury notes, and banknotes) that is in circulation as a medium of exchange

b : paper money in circulation

c : a common article for bartering Furs were once used as currency.

d : a medium of verbal or intellectual expression … neither side possessed any currency but clichés …— Jan Struther

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Synonyms for currency


bread [slang], bucks, cabbage [slang], cash, change, chips, coin, dough, gold, green, jack [slang], kale [slang], legal tender, lolly [British], long green [slang], loot, lucre, money, moola (or moolah) [slang], needful, pelf, scratch [slang], shekels (also sheqels), tender, wampum

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Examples of currency in a Sentence

A new currency has been introduced in the foreign exchange market. They were paid in U.S. currency. Furs were once traded as currency. The word has not yet won widespread currency. I'm not sure about the accuracy and currency of their information.
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Recent Examples on the Web

What’s necessary to succeed in an economy where attention is the reserve currency is a set of attributes that appear with no small frequency in the DSM. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook keeps asking for our trust even as it loses control of our data," 13 Oct. 2018 Just as currency is always in motion, your bank account will also ebb and flow. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What September's Leo Horoscope Means for You," 30 Aug. 2018 That's a far cry from the social currency of today's millennial glitterati. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Are Marriage and Babies the New Naked Selfie?," 27 July 2018 When bitcoin’s price spiked last year, many big financial institutions took an interest in the virtual currency as a new kind of investment and have looked to move it away from its unsavory associations., "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 The new currency will fit more easily on screens, but will do little for the cash shortage and nothing for inflation. The Economist, "Venezuelan cash is almost worthless, but also scarce," 12 July 2018 In their car, along with numerous bags of food from restaurants along the Treasure Coast, deputies found more than $500 in counterfeit $20 and $50 bills, along with more than $1,500 in real U.S. currency. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "She paid for her meal at Dunkin' Donuts, cops say. But there was a problem.," 6 July 2018 Along with its anti-migrant stance, the new government opposes setting a date for the Czech Republic to adopt the EU’s common euro currency. Washington Post, "New Czech government wins confidence vote in Parliament," 11 July 2018 The dollar edged higher Monday, as investors locked in gains on the currency’s recent decline. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Dollar Gains as Investors Take Profits on Europe, Emerging-Market Bets," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'currency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of currency

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for currency

curr(ent) entry 1 + -ency

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Statistics for currency

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for currency

The first known use of currency was in 1624

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More Definitions for currency



Financial Definition of currency

What It Is

Currency is a medium of exchange for goods or services within an economy.

How It Works

Currency can be either fiat or tied to an underlying asset. Fiat money has no intrinsic value and is backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing government. That is, this type of currency is not worth very much in terms of its value as a raw material. Most paper money is fiat money, and its value comes from what it represents rather than what it is. Asset-backed currencies tied to gold, silver or other valuable commodities are rare in present day markets.

Why It Matters

Currency serves an important role in an economy, and has three universally accepted economic advantages: it acts as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a standard of value. Meaning it allows buyers and sellers to quickly arrive at comparative prices instead ofThe definition of currency on InvestingAnswers haggling over how many of one good is worth compared to an unlimited number of others.

It is important to remember, though, that fiat money is only as good as the organization that issues it. If the entity defaults, the currency is worthless.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of currency

: the money that a country uses : a specific kind of money

: something that is used as money

: the quality or state of being used or accepted by many people


cur·​ren·​cy | \ˈkər-ən-sē \
plural currencies

Kids Definition of currency

1 : common use or acceptance The idea has wide currency.

2 : money in circulation We were paid in the country's currency.

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Comments on currency

What made you want to look up currency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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