Whisky-Driven Etymology

I was walking along one day with my good friend Jessie, and she was making fun of me for hearing about a £200 bottle of Talisker and thinking that it actually weighed 200 pounds. We had been listening to a British radio show (Cabin Pressure’s BRILLIANT, by the way), so I really should have known better.

Then I thought of a curious thing. Pounds as a currency have the symbol £, derived from a capital letter L. Pounds as a measurement of weight have the symbol lb. The meaning for these two instances of the word “pound” are disparate, yet their symbols both have “l” in them, which, incidentally, the word “pound” does not.


Jessie said it was coincidence and to stop thinking about it and after all no one cared?

BUT I CARED. I DID. And thank you, Wikipedia, for telling me that I was right. The use of the word pound comes from the Latin libra pondo, an Ancient Roman measurement of weight. “Pound” comes from pondo (originally the British pound had the value of one tower pound (~334 grams) of silver), and lb and £ come from libra.


By the way, here’s a picture of a £200 bottle of Talisker. I don’t think bottles of Talisker weighing 200 pounds actually exist. If you find one, let me know.

I wish this were a 200 pound bottle of Talisker

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