or seign·or·age

  1. something claimed by a sovereign or superior as a prerogative.
  2. a charge on bullion brought to the mint to be coined.
  3. the difference between the cost of the bullion plus minting expenses and the value as money of the pieces coined, constituting a source of government revenue.

Origin of seigniorage

1400–50; late Middle English seigneurage < Middle French seignorage, seigneurage; see seigneur, -age Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for seigniorage

Historical Examples of seigniorage

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of a seigniorage tax?

  • It was again and still further for the protection of gold that the seigniorage was increased to 7.48 per cent.

  • The scarcity of wheat and flour was an ever-present theme; the oppression of autocracy and seigniorage, another.

    Orphans of the Storm

    Henry MacMahon

  • It is on this principle that paper money circulates; the whole charge for paper money may be considered a seigniorage.

    The Value of Money

    Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr.

  • Seigniorage is the right the ruler or state has to charge for coinage, or it is the charge made for coinage.

British Dictionary definitions for seigniorage


  1. something claimed by a sovereign or superior as a prerogative, right, or due
  2. a fee payable to a government for coining bullion
  3. the difference in value between the cost of bullion and the face value of the coin made from it
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 seigniorage

mid-15c., from Old French seignorage, from seignor (see seignior).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper