AskDefine | Define soldi

Dictionary Definition

soldi See soldo

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  1. Plural of soldo
  2. money

Extensive Definition

A solidus (the Latin word for solid) was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans. It was introduced by Constantine I in 309–10, and was used through the Byzantine Empire until the 10th century. The coin replaced the aureus as the main gold coin of the Roman Empire.
The name solidus had previously been used by Diocletian (284–305) for the gold coin that he introduced, which is different from the solidus introduced by Constantine. The coin was struck at a theoretical value of 1/72 of a Roman pound (about 4.5 grams). Solidi were wider and thinner than the Aureus, with the exception of some lower quality issues from the Byzantine Empire. The weight and fineness of the solidus remained relatively constant throughout its long production. Fractions of the solidus known as semissis (half-solidi) and tremissis (one-third solidi) were also produced.
The word soldier is ultimately derived from solidus, referring to the solidi with which soldiers were paid.

Impact on world currencies

In medieval Europe, when the only coin in circulation was the silver penny (denarius), the 'solidus' was used as a unit of account equal to 12 denarii. Variations on the word solidus in the local language gave rise to a number of currency units:


To this day, sou is used as slang a small coin of little value, as in sans le sou. "I'm broke", "without money". It is also a slang term for the Canadian cent (standard French, cent).


The name of the medieval Italian soldo (plural soldi) was derived from solidus. This word is still in common use today in Italy in its plural soldi with the same meaning that the English equivalent money.

Spain and Peru

The name of the medieval Spanish sueldo (which also means salary) was derived from solidus, which is also used in the Philippines as Suweldo. Subsequently the name of the Peruvian sol (more formally sol de oro intended to mean gold solidus) was derived from this name although, because sol actually means sun in Spanish (from the Latin sol), the etymology of the currency's name is commonly misunderstood. To complicate matters, the Sun God was a foremost figure of the Incan Empire that reigned in what is now Peru.

United Kingdom

Until decimalisation in the United Kingdom in 1971, the abbreviation s., from solidus, was used to represent shillings, just as d. and £, from denarius and Libra, were respectively used to represent pence and pounds, leading to the abbreviation "£sd".
soldi in German: Solidus
soldi in Spanish: Solidum
soldi in French: Solidus (monnaie)
soldi in Italian: Solido (moneta)
soldi in Macedonian: Солидус (монета)
soldi in Dutch: Solidus (munt)
soldi in Japanese: ソリドゥス金貨
soldi in Polish: Solid
soldi in Portuguese: Soldo (moeda)
soldi in Russian: Су (монета)
soldi in Finnish: Solidus
soldi in Swedish: Solidus
soldi in Turkish: Solidus (Sikke)
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