The pound sterling, which strictly speaking refers to basic currency unit of sterling, now the pound, can generally refer to the currency of the United Kingdom (UK). The standard ISO 4217 currency code is GBP (UKP is non-standard and sometimes wrongly used).
The sign for the pound is £ (or rarely just "L"). Both symbols derive from libra, the Latin word for "pound".
In the UK, in order to distinguish the unit of currency from the unit of mass, and from other units of currency that have the same name, a pound is often referred to as a pound sterling or sometimes simply sterling.
The slang term quid is also substituted in informal conversation for "pound(s) sterling". The sterling was originally a name for a silver penny of 1/240 pound. In modern times the pound has replaced the penny as the basic unit of currency as inflation has steadily eroded the value of the currency. Originally a silver penny had the purchasing power of slightly less than a modern pound.
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