Definition of denarius in English:


Pronunciation /dəˈnerēəs/ /dəˈnɛriəs/


  • 1An ancient Roman silver coin, originally worth ten asses.

    ‘The principal medium for the payment of these dues was the denarius or silver penny.’
    • ‘The earliest, a worn denarius of Severus Alexander, was particularly interesting as it showed that such coins were still in use at least 250 years after they had been struck.’
    • ‘The gold denomination of the Roman Empire was the aureus, which was worth twenty-five silver denarii.’
    • ‘He had already put her name and face on a Roman coin, the silver denarii.’
    • ‘The first Roman coins were struck in the early 3rd century BC, initially in precious metals but by the later 3rd century in bronze as the as and the denarius in silver.’
    • ‘Martin found the largest hoard of Roman silver denarii found in Britain - it was worth £265,000!’
    • ‘When this was borrowed by the English, they used the name penny but retained the symbol d.: twelve denarii made one solidus, and 20 solidi one pound or libra, giving the term £. s.d., which survived until decimalization in 1971.’
    • ‘The catalyst was the Roman procurator's demand for 100,000 denarii from the Temple treasury, probably to make up a shortfall in revenues caused by a tax strike.’
    • ‘A new record price was set for a silver denarius of the emperor Augustus.’
    • ‘A new coinage, based on the denarius, was introduced in 211.’
    • ‘Moreover, he minted a new silver coin, which was not only lighter in weight but also contained about ten per cent copper, which meant that the new denarius was worth about 25 per cent less than the old one.’
    • ‘It is a fallacy that this was to ensure that they had the best cavalry - it was to provide them with the best day out that a denarius coin could buy.’
    • ‘The symbol for shilling d and for pence s came, respectively, from Latin denarius and sestertius (one-third), but in usage their values were reversed.’
    • ‘A denarius minted by L. Pomponius Molo depicts a laureate head of Apollo on the obverse and on the reverse a sacrificial scene carrying the legend NVMA POMPIL.’
    • ‘The pictor imaginarius (figure painter) made 150 denarii a day, double the daily wage of a wall painter and six times that of a field labourer.’
    • ‘I don't even have to leave any denarii for further expenses.’
    • ‘‘I will give you one thousand denarii's for him, take it or leave it’ she spoke to me softly but coldly to Protius.’
    • ‘Drusilla, I want you and Portia to count out four hundred and nine denarii for Beatrice.’
    • ‘But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’’
    • ‘One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.’
    1. 1.1A unit of weight equal to that of a silver denarius.
      • ‘In 793 or 794 Charlemagne raised the weight of the Frankish denarius and increased its size, thereby creating what would long remain the appearance of the typical medieval penny.’
    2. 1.2An ancient Roman gold coin worth 25 silver denarii.
      ‘The very word ‘soldier’ means ‘paid’, from the Latin solidus, originally a gold coin worth 25 denarii, and the Old French soulde.’
      • ‘‘Two gold denarii! ‘declared Charon with an air of finality.’’
      • ‘Included amongst them were a Roman denarius, several silver Roman hammered coins, a Saxon worker's livery badge and a partial bronze axe head dating back some 2,500 years.’


Latin, literally ‘containing ten’, from the phrase denarius nummus ‘coin worth ten asses’ (see as), from deni ‘in tens’, from decem ‘ten’.