One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A silver coin and unit of account, current from the late 16th to the mid 19th centuries in various European countries, especially the Netherlands, the Holy Roman Empire (and subsequently the Austrian Empire), Sweden, Denmark, and Scotland.
2This coin used as a monetary unit in Dutch colonies, especially those under the control of the Dutch East India Company, or as the principal unit in Dutch colonial trade.
3In the Cape Colony. Now historical.
4In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Now historical.
Late 16th century. From Dutch † rycksdaeler, † rijcxdaelder, † rijcksdaelder, † rijcksdaler, † rijcxdaler, † rycxdaelder, † rijckxdaeller, † rixdaelder, etc. (now rijksdaalder), denoting any of various silver coins and units of account used in various European countries, as well as in various former Dutch colonies, between the late 16th and mid 19th centuries from rijks-, † rijcks-, combining form of rijk, † rijck realm + daalder, † daelder, † daeler, † daler, probably after early modern German † reichsthaler (although the latter is apparently not attested until later). In some forms after German Reichstaler, † Reichsthaler Reichsthaler. In instances where the word denotes a similar Swedish coin, either directly or indirectly after Swedish riksdaler (1593; 1577 as † rückzdaler; also † richs daller, † rijkzdaler, † rikzdaller, etc.).
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