dollar sign

Dollar symbol ($)

The dollar symbol ($) is used to indicate values ​​and prices, both for different types of dollars and for pesos. Therefore, the dollar symbol is actually a currency symbol representing values ​​of different local currencies.

The dollar symbol is recognized by an S traversed by a vertical line ($).

The dollar is the official currency or currency used in the countries that were English colonies such as, for example, the US dollar, the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar, the Bahamian dollar, among others. However, when it refers to the dollar symbol, it usually refers to the US dollar.

Differentiate between dollar symbol and weight symbol

To differentiate and know what type of currency the $ symbol represents, nomenclatures (ISO codes) are used for the official currency of each country, for example, the United States dollar uses the USD nomenclature, the Canadian dollar is CAD, the Mexican peso is represented by MXN and the Chilean peso uses CLP.

In this way, the use of the dollar symbol can be accompanied by these nomenclatures to specify the currency. However, when the $ symbol is used in conjunction with the letters indicating the country it represents, it is customary to use the first, first (2 or 3) letters or acronyms of the corresponding country.

For the US dollar is used (the acronym for United States ), for example, $ 1 being one dollar C $ 1 a Canadian dollar and NZ $ 1 a Mexican weight.

Another way to identify the currency that the $ symbol represents is to use the letters mn at the end of the figure to indicate that the value is in the local currency.

Origin of the dollar symbol

dollar symbol

The dollar symbol originates during the time of colonization of the American continent by the European powers. There are several theories about the origin of the symbol, being that of its Spanish origin the most accepted.

The overseas currency of Spain was called the peso and began to be minted in America for the first time in 1536. The symbol used to represent the peso was Ps. One of the hypotheses about the origin of the dollar symbol is precisely the combination of the letters P and S.

Another hypothesis, since the initial dollar symbol had 2 vertical stripes crossing the S, is that the S represented the motto of the Spanish Empire of that time plus ultra (“beyond” in Latin) wound on the 2 pillars of Hercules (Strait from Gibraltar).

The word dollar is a translation of the English dollar which derives from the Old German daler . The English colonies in America translated the Spanish peso as the Spanish dollar . After the Independence of the United States in 1776, the symbol of pesos was officially adopted in 1793 by the Americans to also represent the American dollar, thus becoming the symbol of the dollar.

One of the hypotheses about the disappearance of one of the vertical stripes of the dollar symbol states that it is due to the configuration of computer systems and keyboards that, today, only present the dollar symbol or symbol of weights with a single stripe.

We all know that the dollar is the official currency of the United States, and also of other countries, although it is normally known associated with the name with the country, such as the United States dollar.

Clearly, the issuance of this kind of dollars is only made in the United States, but as we said, there are several countries that use the name for their currency ; other nations like:

  • Ecuador
  • The Savior
  • Panama
  • Netherlands

In this case, the dollar is kept in the ISO 4217 code which is USD.

On the other hand, there are different theories and versions about the origin of the dollar symbol ($) . One of the best and most accepted is that it arises from the result of the evolution of the Spanish and New Spanish abbreviation Ps, which abbreviated weights, piastres, or pieces of eight.

The S is believed to gradually be written over the P , developing an equivalent close to $.

However, there is another theory that says that the dollar symbol comes from the Spanish colonial mint in the city, where the Potosí mine was located, in the current country of Bolivia. This mintmark was made up of the letters PTSI superimposed on top of each other, forming a symbol very similar to the original dollar symbol (the one with a vertical bar: $).

Finally, the similarity of the dollar symbol to that of the sesterce (IIS, I · IS or HS) could suggest a Roman origin . However, in ancient manuscripts the sesterce symbol never appears with the vertical strokes superimposed on the letter S.

Currently, the $ is a monetary symbol used by multiple world currencies , especially in America, including the peso and the dollar. The peso sign is used to represent uniquely or with other signs the following currencies:

  • the peso, be it the Argentine, Mexican, Chilean, Colombian, Dominican, Uruguayan, and other pesos
  • the dollar, whether it be the US (US $), Australian (A $), Canadian (C $), and other dollars
  • the Nicaraguan Cordoba, C $
  • the Brazilian real, R $

The dollar symbol began to be used in business correspondence between the 1770s, to refer to the Hispanic American peso. The double-stroke symbol was used for some time, but it is falling out of use again. The Spanish-American peso was known as the “Spanish dollar” in British North America, and in 1785, it was adopted as the currency of the United States, along with the term “dollar.” The symbol $ continued to be used to refer to the new currency.

What is USD?

us dollar

Many people before buying something may have doubts about the currency symbols . Sure, living in Mexico would be a bit difficult not to recognize the acronym USD , but despite this, many still wonder.

When we see the acronym USD , we should know that we are talking about United States Dollars, in English clearly, United States Dollars.

It is no mystery that the best-known dollar symbol is $ , just as the euro symbol is  . But there are also so-called triliter symbols that create the occasional confusion in the media. Let’s learn a little more about the dollar and the correct way to write it. Corrector to the rescue!

Many coins have, in addition to their name, a non-literable monetary symbol . They are symbols such as $ (dollar),  (euro), £ (pound), ¥ (yen) … In Spain, they are usually written after the number to which they refer, and the Spelling explains that a space must be left in white back: € 35 , $ 8 , 1,358,983 ¥ . In America, it is preferred to write the symbols before the number and without a blank: € 35 , £ 482 .

The triliter symbols

In addition to these symbols, coins can also be written with alphabetizable symbols , that is, with letters. They are the triliter symbols, three letters that abbreviate the full name of the currencies : EUR (euro), USD (United States dollar ), GBP (sterling), JPY (Japanese yen), CHF (Swiss franc), AUD (Australian dollar) , COP (Colombian peso), CAD (Canadian dollar) … All are included in the international standard ISO 4217 .

Although they usually correspond to the initials of the name of the currency ( United States dollar , USD ), they are considered symbols . Therefore, when writing these three letters, you must leave a space with the number they accompany. In this case, the Spelling establishes that there must be space even if the symbol is prefixed: 333 EUR , CHF 2000.

The characteristics of the symbols

The symbols are invariable , both literate and non-literate. They are set by international standards and are the same worldwide. They do not have plural, nor can their upper or lower case letters be altered . Therefore, it is incorrect, for example, to write “kgs” (the kilogram symbol is always kg ) or “Km” (the kilometer symbol is always km ).

In the case of coins the same thing happens. The dollar symbol will always be $ or USD (in the case of the US), but never “$ s” or “usd” (or derivatives). If you want to put the name of the currency in the plural, it is best to write the full name: one million US dollars .

Hybrids for the dollar symbol

One of the most common mistakes when talking about coins is mixing symbols and creating strange hybrids. There are three possible ways to write US dollar ($, USD, and US dollar ), but they cannot be combined.

However, the $ symbol may be somewhat ambiguous since there are many types of dollars. But, if you want to specify what type of dollar it is (American, Canadian, Australian), it is better to use the triliter symbol. In it, the first two letters mark the country : USD , CAD , AUD .

Examples of hybrids

So it is wrong to mix symbols and create hybrids like ” US $ ” , well-liked by the media. Also, saving space cannot be an excuse to use this hybrid either, since they are still three characters

How did the symbol $ become the representation of the dollar?

The reality is that there is no single theory that explains why the dollar began to be represented with an S crossed by two parallel lines. 

One of the most widely accepted theories says that when the US currency was created, a replica of the Spanish real, known as the Spanish dollar, was used . That is to say, that coin in which the columns of Hercules appeared engraved. 

Another belief that pass before the Americans adopt the $ symbol, writing a similar symbol with an S superimposed letter U . Many thought that it meant United States (United States), others thought that it meant Silver Units (silver units), and there are even those for whom it is related to the representation of the Christian cross. 

But the theories do not end here, another affirms that, during the beginnings of the American colonies, there was an intense exchange of goods between the Spanish-Americans and the English colonists. Therefore, until the mid-19th century, the peso, that is, the Spanish dollar, was legal tender in the United States. Over time, the weight began to shorten until it dropped to its initial P, with an S next to it. But, the different modes of writing during the exchanges merged the P with the S and left a vertical stroke in the center of the S , $.

The controversy still continues around the origin of this symbol, since even some historians point to the Irish Oliver Polloxk, a wealthy merchant, as its creator.

Why the dollar symbol is only crossed by one line and not two

Have you noticed that before the dollar symbol was written with two stripes and now there is only one left? Why? Again, there is no single theory that explains it. The dollar symbol does not seem to have a clear history despite all its power and meaning.

Some think that, when writing it so many times, so many people and for so many years, the speed of writing and leaving the symbol reflected, ended one of them . That is, simple laziness when writing the dollar sign. 

It is also said that it was the computers or rather their creators that ended up with one of the stripes, or columns of Hercules, or “P”, or snakes. And it is that, if you stop for a moment and look at your keyboard, you will see that the dollar symbol only contains a stripe. Thus, with a blow and a pen, they decided to eliminate one of the lines. 

Why the North American currency is known as the dollar

Initially the dollar was not known by that name. In fact, it was nicknamed ” joachimsthaler “. However, over time, his name was shortened to thaler.

This difficult name originated in 1520, at this time the Kingdom of Bohemia began to produce coins through a local mine called Joachimsthal and thus they called the local currency in their honor. 

The trade made the currency reach other places and receive other names. In the Netherlands , for example, this coin was known as a daler. And in fact, it was this variation that began to cross the Atlantic, as the settlers did exchanges and business with the Dutch. 

Scroll to Top