Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The primary unit of currency in Greece before the adoption of the euro.
  • n. An ancient Greek silver coin.
  • n. One of several modern units of weight, especially the dram.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The currency of Greece from ancient times until 2001, with the symbol ₯, since replaced by the euro.
  • n. A coin worth one drachma.
  • n. An Ancient Greek weight of about 66.5 grains.
  • n. A later Greek weight equal to a gram.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A silver coin among the ancient Greeks, having a different value in different States and at different periods. The average value of the Attic drachma is computed to have been about 19 cents (U. S. currency, ca. 1913).
  • n. A gold and silver coin of modern Greece worth 19.3 cents.
  • n. Among the ancient Greeks, a weight of about 66.5 grains; among the modern Greeks, a weight equal to a gram.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The principal silver coin of the ancient Greeks.
  • n. A silver coin of the modern kingdom of Greece, by law of the same value as the French franc, equal to 19.3 United States cents. It is divided into 100 lepta.
  • n. A weight among the ancient Greeks, being that of the silver coin. See drum.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. formerly the basic unit of money in Greece
  • n. a unit of apothecary weight equal to an eighth of an ounce or to 60 grains

Etymologies

Latin, from Greek drakhmē, from drassesthai, drakh-, to grasp.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek δραχμή (drakhmē, "a drachma"), from δράσσομαι (drassomai, "to grasp, seize") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Unless they have already decided to price it in Greek drachma, rather than euro, he can tell you that there is an awful long way to go before austerity kicks in.

    US Market Commentary from Seeking Alpha

  • Its rival EBS, which is owned by ICAP PLC, said Sunday that it was testing trades in Greek drachma against both the dollar and the euro as a precautionary measure.

    Thomson Reuters FX Systems Ready To Adapt To Euro-Zone Changes

  • Greece's history in the drachma was an up-and-down history, a roller coaster.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • "The choice between new austerity measures with the euro and a default with the drachma is the same as choosing to be killed at five minutes to midnight or at midnight," says Maniatis.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • As The New York Times reports today, some economists believe that a default by Greece and return to the drachma might be the best course of action, though the results would be devastating.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • For this reason we still call small coins obols, and we call six obols a drachma, meaning that this is the number of them which can be grasped by the hand.

    Plutarch's Lives, Volume II

  • Would it be so bad for Greece's economic growth if the country left the monetary union and returned to the drachma?

    Seth Engel: Eurozone Woes - Is The Union Falling Apart?

  • Greece could return to the drachma, devalue it and repay its debts with debased currency.

    What's up with Europe's economy -- and why you should care

  • Greek politicians, for their part, have gone along not because they're in thrall to bankers and cravenly do whatever pleases the piggies in pinstripes—but because they view the alternative as even worse: default, a likely collapse of Greece's banks, a need to exit the euro and reintroduce the drachma.

    Why We Aren't Bashing Banks

  • This is the preferred remedy for those who believe that Greece's salvation lies in exiting the euro, re-adopting the drachma, and promptly devaluing it.

    Europe and Its Money

Comments

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  • Yup - just like pound. I reckon most old units of currency probably derive from weights.

    December 17, 2008

  • Never realised this was a measure of weight.

    December 16, 2008