Quid, anyone?

For longer than I care to remember, I have heard the term ‘Quid’ on British program(me)s. Quid seems to be both singular and plural.

I know (or think I do) that a Quid is some kind or monetary unit and that it (may be) worth more than a pound. --In some of the shows I have watched people haggle about whether to be paid in pounds or Quid–.

So, the questions:

  1. What is a Quid?
  2. How much is/was it worth?
  3. Is it still in use?
  4. Are/were Quid notes printed (or maybe it is a coin)?
  5. Any other information you can give on the subject.



Quid is just slang for a pound or a pound note, just as buck is slang for a dollar in the US.

“Quid” is just slang for “pound”, just like Americans say “buck” for “dollar”. I’m baffled that you didn’t already know this, and totally baffled over your report of British programmes having people argue over paying in one or another as if there is a difference. :confused:


Me too. There is never a difference between a quid and a pound.

10 quid - £10.00

a pony £1000.00

fiver - £5.00

tenner - £10.00

of course all my pound signs went funny.

When Australia decimalised its currency in 1966, the term “quid” was lost as a direct unit, but it remains as a general term for money. People still say, He’s making a good quid, or I wouldn’t do that for quids!, etc.

Well, people seldom ask questions when they already know the answer and it isn’t necessarily surprising that I don’t know.

Had I not seen that program (I have no idea what it might have been; an old Sherlock Holmes?) I would not have thought there was a difference and wouldn’t have asked.


urban1z you may indeed be right. I checked by Shorter Oxford Dictionary, and it actually lists quid as a colloquial term for a guinea, not a pound. A guinea is a slightly different amount of money, and is no longer used. IIRC, it is one pound, and one shilling. My mother said that she remembers in the pre-decimal days in Australia, pounds were used for most purchases, but big ticket items such as furniture etc were usually priced in guineas. So, whilst the term quid definitely means a pound to today’s Britons, and has done for many decades, in a Sherlock Holmes reference, you might indeed have a point.

I don’t think it’s entirely fair to you, as an American, to be expected know the ins and outs of this stuff. Good on you for asking.

Yes a Guinea’s a littele more than a pound, but to a British person a quid= 1 pound.

urban1z - Don’t feel bad. At least you asked the question in the right place. Years ago I walked into a London bank and asked what a “quid” was (someone had offered to pay me in quid). Let’s just say the bank staff was very, very amused.

No. A pony is £25. £1000 is a grand. Sorry, Lobsang.

urban1z you may like to visit this site.

Not for me (OS X/Safari).

When I was in the UK last year some people took me to Bath where we saw a woman busking. She was dressed very strangely and would sing if you gave her money. The children were afraid and asked what it was she wanted. I said “She just is trying to earn a few quid.” The child looked to his father who explained “quid is another word for pounds.” I was quite surprised that this explanation was needed for a native of the UK.

In Ireland “quid” was always used as a slang term for the punt (Irish pound), too. When we changed over to Euro the term disappeared for a while, but has lately been making a comeback as slang for Euro. So, I think it’s fair to say that in Britain and Ireland “quid” is the slang term for the standard monetary unit - whatever it happens to be at the time.

Cecil Adams on In Britain, what’s the difference between a pound and a guinea?

Hmm. In the column Bibliophage linked to, Cecil said:

Not “nowadays”. I don’t think guineas have been used in advertising since we decimalised in 1971 – since then, the British equivalent of “only $9.98” has been “only £9.99” or “only £9.95”.

Where guineas did survive long after everyone else had abandoned them was in certain professions: consultant surgeons, solicitors, tailors and a few others would all charge in guineas, and I’m fairly certain that the practice continued for a few years even after decimalisation.

Some expensive items are still priced in guineas (racehorses for example). I don’t think they advertise them on TV though.

Are you sure? My copy of the Shorter OED does give ‘a guinea’ as one of the definitions but only as an obsolete usage and it has ‘a sovereign’ (i.e. a coin worth one pound sterling) as the earlier and still current meaning. One could quibble that sovereigns are themselves obsolete, but this does suggest that the primary meaning of ‘quid’ has always been ‘one pound’ (or its equivalent).

  1. Are/were Quid notes printed (or maybe it is a coin)?

There used to be one pound (quid) notes but these were phased out in the early eighties in favour for the relatively new pound coins.


Hmmm…when I first looked at the thread I thought the answers would be completely different. The only use of the word ‘quid’ that I know of is in my Latin classes.
it can mean either ‘what’, or why (quis having the same meaning), or more complicated, it can be used as an interrogative pronoun meaning ‘whose, whom, what, which’.
Quid itself would be either a singular nominate case or singular accusative case.
Confused yet? goood :stuck_out_tongue: