- the shield carried by a mounted man-at-arms in the Middle Ages.
- any of various gold and silver coins of France, issued from the 13th through the 18th centuries, bearing the figure of a shield.
Origin of écu
- any of various former French gold or silver coins
- a small shield
- European Currency Unit: a former unit of currency based on the composite value of several different currencies in the European Union and functioning as both the reserve asset and the accounting unit of the European Monetary System; replaced by the euro in 1999
Word Origin and History for écu
old French silver coin, 1704, from French écu, from Old French escu (12c.) "shield, coat of arms," also the name of a coin, from Latin scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)). First issued by Louis IX (1226-1270); so called because the shield of France was imprinted on them.