Cash usually refers to money in the form of currency, such as banknotes and coins.

In bookkeeping and finance, "cash" refers to current assets comprised of currency or currency equivalents that can be accessed immediately or near-immediately (as in the case of money market accounts).


The English word "cash" is of the French "," itself a borrowing of the Provençal "caissa." That Provençal word is a derivative of the Latin ' (box, chest), most likely by way of an unattested Vulgar Latin form "*capsea;" Spanish ' and Portuguese "" are their respective languages' reflexes.cite encyclopedia
title=Cash, "n."1
encyclopedia=OED Online
] cite encyclopedia
last=Bloch, Oscar, and Walther von Warthburg (Dirs.)
encyclopedia=Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française
publisher=Presses universitaires de France
edition=1er édition «Quadrige»
] From the original sense of a box or a chest, the word came to refer to a sum of money such as was or might be contained in one, and eventually to specie or, with the elimination of metallic standards, banknotes. In this sense, it is used in contrast to credit or other financial instruments.

Historical usage in Asia

The word was formerly used also to refer to certain low-value coins used in South and East Asia. This sense derives from the Tamil/Telugu "kāsu," a South Indian monetary unit which can be traced back to Sanskrit "karsa", a weight of gold or silver but akin to Old Persian "karsha"-, a weight. a unit of value equivalent to one cash coin. The early European representations of this Tamil/Telugu word, including Portuguese "caxa" and English "cass," merged the existing words "caixa" and "cash," which had similar connections with money. In the pre-1818 South Indian monetary system, the cash was the basic coin, with 80 cash equalling a "fanam" and 42 fanams equalling a "star pagoda" worth roughly 7"s." 8"d."cite encyclopedia
title=Cash, "n."2
encyclopedia=OED Online

This assimilated Tamil/Telugu word was then applied to various other coins with which European traders came into contact, including the famous holed cash coins of China, the Chinese cash. These coins were commonly strung on cords for use in larger transactions; 1000 equalled a tael.


ee also

*Cash register
*Cash and cash equivalents
*Cash flow
*Cash counter
*Cash management
*Petty cash
*Chinese cash
*Johnny Cash
*List of English words of Persian origin

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