Difference Between Pound and Sterling

As of present, there are 180 recognized currencies in the world, including the pound and sterling. There is also a currency known as the pound sterling, which creates confusion due to the combination of two separate currencies. Here, we will discuss the differences between the pound and the sterling.

The pound is popularly recognized as the currency used in the United Kingdom. At the same time, however, the term sterling is used interchangeably with it. In the most basic sense, the pound is an archaic measure of weight and is also a colloquial term for currency.  The “British pound” is used in more casual settings and is not thought of as a formal, official name. The British pound is used in distinguishing it from the Lebanese, Egyptian, Sudanese or Syrian pound. Incidentally, the term British pound is synonymous with “pound sterling”. Additionally, pound can be used to refer to the weight of transaction documents using the symbol “lb.”

The pound sterling is another way to describe British currency and is used interchangeably with pound. It is the term commonly used in financial transactions. It is more used as a referral to currency rather than for describing actual amounts in the transaction.  It is the oldest currency used in the world and can be spent on many territories under the United Kingdom like Scotland and Wales.

Comparison Board

Definition An archaic measure of weight or a colloquial term for currency. The currency used in the United Kingdom.  
Also used as British pound British pound, pound sterling
Etymology From the Latin word “libro pondo”, used as pound or weight From the Middle English word “steorra”, meaning star + English “-ing”; the word was initially used to refer to sterling silver or the standard of fineness of precious metals
Usage It is the popular term used to refer to British currency Pound sterling is the official name for British currency and is the one used for financial transactions
Symbol The pound sign “£” or “lb” for weight The pound sign “£” or the ISO code “GBP”


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