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écu

[ey-kyoo; French ey-ky]
noun, plural é·cus [ey-kyooz; French ey-ky] /eɪˈkyuz; French eɪˈkü/.
  1. the shield carried by a mounted man-at-arms in the Middle Ages.
  2. any of various gold and silver coins of France, issued from the 13th through the 18th centuries, bearing the figure of a shield.
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Origin of écu

1695–1705; < French; Old Frenchescu < Latinscūtum shield

ECU

[ey-koo or, sometimes, ee-see-yoo]
noun
  1. a former money of account of the European Common Market that was used in international finance until the euro was adopted and was based on the combined prorated values of the currencies of member nations.
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Origin of ECU

E(uropean) C(urrency) U(nit), perhaps with play on écu
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ecus

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for ecus

écu

noun
  1. any of various former French gold or silver coins
  2. a small shield
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Word Origin

C18: from Old French escu, from Latin scūtum shield

ECU

n acronym for
  1. 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
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ecus

ecu

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper