(formerly) either of two bronze coins of France, equal to 5 centimes and 10 centimes.

Origin of sou

1810–20; < French; Old French sol sol2

sou. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sou

Historical Examples of sou

  • He had not a sou of money for his passage, as he had not even been able to pay for an emigrant's ticket.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • A sou was so little and so easy to give, and there was also something so touching about the idea.

  • But the peasant is not lavish, and, for whole weeks, he did not bring back a sou.

  • But if you've never saved a sou, you had to do what other folks did and do without.


    Emile Zola

  • It should be mentioned that he had not asked for one sou of dowry.

British Dictionary definitions for sou



a former French coin of low denomination
a very small amount of moneyI haven't a sou to my name

Word Origin for sou

C19: from French, from Old French sol, from Latin: solidus
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 sou

small French coin, 1550s, back-formation from sous, plural of Old French soul, formerly a coin worth one-twentieth of a livre, from Latin solidus (see solidus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper