Difference Between Quid and Shilling (With table)

In the British system, one can find many names and values given to the coins, which have been in use over many years. Farthing, penny, crown, and pound are few values among many.

Shilling and quid are two of those denominations of their system. It can get a little confusing as each of them has different values. Knowing their usage is quite important.

Quid vs Shilling 

The difference between quid and shilling is that the value of a quid was and is one pound sterling whereas a shilling was a coin worth one-twentieth of a pound. one can also differentiate it by knowing that quid is not a different or a new value, it is just a slang word whereas shilling is official.

Quid is not an official term established in the metric system instead it is a slang word used to describe one pound sterling. It is the currency of England, Scotland, etc, but widely used in the United Kingdom. The word quid first came into use in the late seventieth century and is still in use. 

A shilling was a coin worth one-twentieth of a pound. It was an official monetary unit that came in use sometime in the mid 16th century. It was the currency of many countries including the United States. Shilling is no longer used as it stopped circulating in the 1990s. 

Comparison Table Between Quid and Shilling

Parameters of ComparisonQuidShilling
DefinitionQuid is a slang term used to describe one pound sterling. It is not an official term in the metric systemshilling was an official unit in the metric system worth one-twentieth of a pound.
OriginIt seems to have been originated from the Latin phrase ‘quid pro quo’ which means ‘something for something.’It is originated from the old English term ‘scilling’. Its roots come from a proto-Germanic word ‘skiljana’ which simply means split or divide
Emergence Quid emerged in the late 17th century. There is no certain evidence as to why quid was associated with one poundShilling originated sometime in the mid 16th century, in the region of Henry VII as a testoon
Prevalent inUsed in all countries that have the pound as the part of their metric system (currency) but mainly in the United Kingdom.It was a unit of New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Ireland, etc., as a part of a former monetary unit. It s now said to be a basic monetary unit in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia.
Slang termsQuid is a slang term in itself. It is used to refer to a pound sterling.BOB is the slang or nickname for a shilling(several).

What is a Quid? 

Quid is a slang word used for the currency of the UK – the British pound sterling. A quid is equal to 100 pence. It is believed to emerge from a Latin phrase “quid pro quo” (something for something). It is said that the word quid originated in the late 17th century. 

Some scholars believed that the Italian immigrants must have originated the word because of the gold and silver coins named ‘scudo” used in Italy. Few others believe that the paper money which was originated in the Royal mint paper mill in Quidhampton(a village in Wiltshire) was called quid. 

Even after many such theories, the mystery of the word quid is still not certain. Quid (pound) is used in many countries namely the United Kingdom, Egypt, Lebanon, etc.

Usage in a sentence: the pant cost him 500 quid. 

What is Shilling?

Shilling (coin) was an official unit of the metric system which was equal to one-twentieth of a pound or 12 pence. BOB was used as an alternate to the value of several shillings. 

The word comes from “scilling”( an old English term), its roots come from a proto-Germanic word ‘skiljana’ which simply means split or divide. Shilling first originated in the mid 16th century in the regain of Henry VII as a testoon.

In February 1971 shilling got a new value of plus 5 pence. Shillings were minted in silver when introduced and later in cupronickel. It was no longer a legal tender after 1990. 

It is still used as a basic monetary unit in East African countries and was formerly used in UK, Australia, and New Zealand, etc.

Usage in a sentence: 12 pence make a shilling

Main Differences Between Quid and Shilling

Although the quid and shilling are both values of the monetary metric system, one being slang for pound and the latter having the value of one-twentieth of a pound. There are a few differences that can be spotted between the two.

These differences are:

  1. Quid is a slang word for the pound whereas shilling was an official unit of the monetary system.
  2. There is no certain information about the origin of the word quid whereas the word shilling is originated from an old English word ‘scilling’ and has roots from a proto-Germanic word ‘skiljana’
  3. Quid probably in the late 17th century whereas shilling originated in the mid 16th century.
  4. The symbol of quid is of the pound whereas a shilling is shown as ‘s’ ( s. or /-)
  5. Quid is used in all the countries where the pound is used .i.e – UK, Egypt, Lebanon, etc as it is a slang word, whereas shilling is only used in a few east African countries, otherwise it is not considered a legal value.
  6. Quid is a nickname in itself whereas shillings are sometimes known as BOB.


the history of quid and shillings can be traced back to the 17th and 16th centuries. They changed slowly in value and appearance. these have a lot of value and stand hing in the foreign exchange markets.Quid (pound) in UK is also called GBP , quid in general is not very common for the people in other countries. There are various boxes that a currency has to check to prove its strength, stability,inflation rates are few of those.

We all know that currencies are a very important part of the world today. Even though quid and shillings are two very different denominations considering their value, usage, etc. Few denominations are not legal anymore like the shilling and few are still in rotation.

Despite their differences, both are equally important in their own way in the metric systems. 


  1. http://dissertations.mak.ac.ug/handle/20.500.12281/9975
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