• synonyms


  1. a former gold coin of Spain, equal to two escudos.
  2. any of various former gold coins of Europe, as the louis d'or.
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Origin of pistole

1585–95; < Middle French, back formation from pistolet the coin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pistole


  1. any of various gold coins of varying value, formerly used in Europe
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French, shortened from pistolet, literally: little pistol
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 pistole


former Spanish coin (not called that in Spanish), 1590s, from French pistole, from Italian piastola, diminutive of piastra "plate or leaf of metal" (see piaster). Cf. earlier pistolet (1550s) "foreign coin," which OED says is from French pistolet "short firearm" (see pistol) and so called for being smaller and thinner than other coins.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper