Quid vs Shilling: Difference and Comparison

In the British system, many names and values are given to the coins, which have been used for many years. Farthing, penny, crowns, and pounds are a 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Quid and Shilling are former currencies used in the United Kingdom but have different values and origins.
  2. The Quid was equivalent to 100 pence, first introduced in 1983, while the Shilling was equivalent to 12 pence and was abolished in 1971.
  3. Today, neither the Quid nor the Shilling is in circulation, but they are still used in everyday British English to refer to money in general or a specific amount.

Quid vs Shilling 

The difference between a quid and a 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 vs Shilling 1

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 was first used in the late seventieth century and is still used. 


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A shilling was a coin worth one-twentieth of a pound. It was an official monetary unit that came into 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

Parameters of ComparisonQuidShilling
DefinitionQuid emerged in the late 17th century. There is no specific evidence as to why the quid was associated with one pound.Used in all countries that have the pound as part of their metric system (currency) but mainly in the United Kingdom.
OriginQuid is a slang term used to describe one pound sterling. It is not an official term in the metric system.It seems to have originated from the Latin phrase ‘quid pro quo,’ which means ‘something for something.’
Emergence Used in all countries with the pound as part of their metric system (currency), but mainly in the United Kingdom.Quid emerged in the late 17th century. There is no certain evidence as to why the quid was associated with one pound.
Prevalent inIt originated from the old English term ‘scilling’. Its roots come from the proto-Germanic word ‘skiljana’, which means split or divide.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 the 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 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 particular. 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 metric system unit equal to one-twentieth of a pound or 12 pence. BOB was used as an alternative to the value of several shillings. 

The word comes from “scilling”( an old English term), and its roots come from a proto-Germanic word ‘skiljana’ which 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 the UK, Australia, 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 specific information about the origin of the word quid. In contrast, the word shilling originated from an old English word ‘scilling’ and has roots in a proto-Germanic word ‘, skiljana.’
  3. Quid was probably in the late 17th century, whereas shilling originated in the mid-16th century.
  4. The symbol of quid is 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 – the 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, whereas shillings are sometimes known as BOB.
  1. http://dissertations.mak.ac.ug/handle/20.500.12281/9975
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