or pi·as·tre

[pee-as-ter, -ah-ster]


a former coin of Turkey, the 100th part of a lira: replaced by the kurus in 1933.
a monetary unit of Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria, the 100th part of a pound.
a former monetary unit of South Vietnam: replaced by the dong in 1976.
the former peso or dollar of Spain and Spanish America.

Origin of piaster

1605–15; < French piastre < Italian piastra thin sheet of metal, silver coin (short for piastra d'argento, literally, plate of silver), akin to piastro plaster
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piastre

Historical Examples of piastre

  • “A piastre, and a drink of the fire water,” replied the vizier.

    The Pacha of Many Tales

    Frederick Marryat

  • Indeed, we have never expected a piastre—no, not even a tlaco.

    Remember the Alamo

    Amelia E. Barr

  • "Thanks, your excellency," the peon said, joyfully pocketing his piastre.

    The Red Track

    Gustave Aimard

  • These values are given only from 1900, when the value of the piastre was fixed.

  • My penalty was my penalty, and I paid it to the full, piastre by piastre of my body and my mind.

    The Weavers, Complete

    Gilbert Parker

British Dictionary definitions for piastre




(formerly) the standard monetary unit of South Vietnam, divided into 100 cents
a fractional monetary unit of Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria worth one hundredth of a pound; formerly also used in the Sudan
another name for kuruş
a rare word for piece of eight

Word Origin for piastre

C17: from French piastre, from Italian piastra d'argento silver plate; related to Italian piastro plaster
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 piastre



also piastre, 1620s, "Spanish dollar, piece of eight," also used as the name of a monetary unit and coin of Turkey (1610s, in Turkish called ghurush, but originally debased Spanish dollars), from French piastre, from Italian piastra "thin metal plate," short for impiastro "plaster," from Latin emplastrum, from Greek emplastron (see plaster). The Italian word was applied to the Spanish silver peso, later to the Turkish coin based on it. Cf. shinplaster.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper