groat

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groat

History an English silver coin worth four pennies, taken out of circulation in the 17th century

Groat

 

(Russian grosh, Polish grosz, German Groschen; from Latin denarius grossus, a heavy coin), a coin of various periods and countries.

Coinage of the groat began in Italy in the 12th century and in many other European countries in the 13th and 14th. Initially it was a large silver coin. In the 14th and 15th centuries the weight of the groat and the quality of its metal declined and it came to be used for small change.

In Russia coinage of the grosh was started in 1654. In the 17th and 18th centuries copper groshi worth 2 kopeks were in circulation; in the 19th century the grosh came to be called a half kopek. The groat is a present-day coin of Poland and Austria: the Polish grosz equals 1/100 of a zloty (there are 50-, 20-, 10-, 5-, and 1-grosz coins in circulation), and the Austrian Groschen equals 1/100 of a Schilling (with 50-, 20-, 10-, 2-, and 1-Groschen coins in circulation). Figuratively the term “groat” is used to mean a paltry sum.

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