Expand your UK IQ: Quid
April 22, 2009
You know you’ve been in England a while when you start picking up the word "quid."
A common turn of phrase at the pub might be: "Hey, can you lend me five quid for another pint, man?" (Or "mate," if you’re really going British.)
Heard in context, you can deduce that one quid equals one pound. Usually uttered in a casual conversation, it’s a slang word heard everywhere in the U.K. — but more so in pubs than at tea parties.
So why do people refer to a pound sterling as a quid, both in the singular and plural forms? It’s hard to say, according to WiseGeek.com, an online question/answer clearinghouse.
The two most popular theories contend quid either came from the Latin "quid pro quo" — meaning getting something in return for giving something — or from the Royal Mint paper mill in Quidhampton, Wiltshire. Either way, you’ll probably incorporate the word into your lexicon after a while in England.
But in Ireland, a quid also means a euro. That country made the conversion to the euro in 2002 with most other western European nations.
However, the British love their quid and plan to keep the pound sterling, at the moment anyway. But quid is so cemented in the vernacular here that it would likely survive even if the pound gave way to the euro.