Used by: United States and territories, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Liberia, others
Origin: From daler (Low German) from German taler, a shortening of Joachimstaler, literally “coin from Joachimstal (Joachim’s Valley).” Joachimstal is a valley in Bohemia where silver for coins was mined in the 16th century. Now they mostly get uranium from there.
Used by: Countries of the eurozone (17 of 28 European Union members)
Origin: Shortening of “Europe,” obviously. This one won’t really have an interesting origin story unless the entire Earth adopts it and then becomes the dominant partner in some interplanetary alliance.
Used by: United Kingdom and territories, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria
Origin: From “pound of silver.” Originally in Old English as the Saxon pound (pund) from Latin libra pondo. The symbol £ is from a cursive form of lb (as in pounds of weight), which is from libra, since medieval accountants kept their records in Latin. The Irish punt (before they switched to the euro) is also from “pound.”
Used in: currently only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but formerly in Germany, Estonia, Finland (as the markka), Poland (as the marka). The picture is of an old German 5 mark note.
Origin: German Mark, cognate with Old English marc, a unit of weight equal to about eight ounces, probably from Old Norse mörk. Related to the other sense of mark, as in an official mark placed on a weight of gold or silver, and later the coin valued at the same amount.
Krona (and variants)
Used in: Sweden, Denmark (krone), Norway (krone), Iceland (króna), Faeroe Islands (króna), Czech Republic (koruna)
Origin: The Swedish word for “crown,” derived from the Latin corona, probably applied to money when the official mark placed on coins was that of a crown.
Rupee (and variants)
Used in: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives (rufiyaa), Indonesia (rupiah)
Origin: From Hindustani rūpiya (रूपिय), from Sanskrit rūpya (रूप्य), meaning “wrought silver,” originally “silver stamped with an image,” from rūpa (रूप), meaning “body” or “shape.” Rūpa may have a Dravidian origin (cf. Tamil உருப்பு — uruppu, “body part”). Weirdly, the Bengali/Assamese word for “rupee” is ṭākā/ṭôkā (also the name of the currency of Bangladesh), from the Sanskrit tanaka, which was a specific denomination of silver coins.
Used in: Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia (denar), Serbia, Tunisia
Origin: From Arabic dīnār (دينار), a borrowing of Greek dēnárion (δηνάριον), itself from Latin dēnārius. A dēnārius was a Roman coin worth ten asses (no, really), later revalued to four sestertii.
Real (and variants)
Used in: Brazil, Qatar (riyal), Saudi Arabia (riyal), Iran (rial), Oman (rial), Yemen (rial), Cambodia (riel)
Origin: This got all over the place, from Latin America to the Middle East to Southeast Asia. It comes from the Spanish real, meaning “royal” as in “royal coinage.” It’s not used in any Spanish-speaking countries anymore.
Used in: Mexico, Phillipines, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Argentina
Origin: Spanish for “weight,” from Latin pensum (think “pendant”).
Used in: China (yuan), Japan (yen), North and South Korea (won)
Origin: Literally means “round.” China had traded silver in simple masses and weights before European traders arrived with round silver coins that they used the same way the Chinese used paper money. All three words come from Chinese.