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Real Estate Terms & Meanings | Real Estate Dictionary | Property Language Explained |    May 18, 2024
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Believed to be derived from Moneta, the temple of the Roman goddess Juno, which housed the mint in ancient Rome. Anything that passes from hand to hand as a readily acceptable medium for the exchange of articles of value, or is kept as a store of value. An item or commodity used to express debts or liabilities, or that is acceptable as a means to discharge debts or liabilities. "The natural and primary meaning of money is cash or coin of the realm … Still, in the common acceptation of the word there is a more extensive meaning given to it." Barrett v White (1855) 24 LJ Ch 724, 726(53A Am.Jur.2d., Money, § 1). Money has been defined in a literal sense "by Mr. Walker in Money, Trade, and Industry as that which passes freely from hand to hand through the community in final discharge of debts and full payment for commodities, being acceptable equally without reference to the character or credit of the person who offers it and without the intention of the person who receives it to consume it or apply it to any other use than in turn to tender it to others in discharge of debts or payments for commodities." Moss v Hancock [1899] 2 QB 111, 116.

In economics, money is reputed to serve four basic functions: (i) as a unit or medium of exchange "it is a machine for doing quickly and commodiously, what would be done, though less quickly and commodiously, without it." John Stewart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848), Book III, Ch. VII, para. 3; (ii) as a measure of value or wealth" in the first place money appears in the function of a mere instrument for measuring the value of individual parts of wealth … But money also appears in a second or higher function, that is, it embraces the value itself that is measured by it … therefore money gives its owner a general power of wealth … and … appears as an independent bearer of such power", Fredrich Karl von Savigny, Das Obligationenrecht ["Law of Contracts"] (1851), vol. i. p. 405; (iii) as a store of value or purchasing power—"It is not for its own sake that men desire money, but for the sake of what they can purchase with it." Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776), Book Four, Ch. I. Although it may be asked, "why should anyone outside a lunatic asylum wish to use money as a store of wealth? Because … our desire to hold money as a store of wealth is a barometer of the degree of our distrust of our own calculations and conventions concerning the future … The possession of actual money lulls our disquietude." J.M. Keynes, The General Theory of Employment (1937) Quart. J. Econ. p. 216; (iv) as a standard or means for deferred payment, a link between the present and the future&mdas;money "acts as a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future: though it is not needed at the moment, it insures the possibility of satisfying a need when it arises." Aristotle, Ethics, Book 5. Money may take the form of coins, bank notes or similar currency; negotiable paper money, promissory notes (e.g. checks, postal orders, money orders); precious metals; or any goods that are accepted by society as readily exchangeable, without question and without being used up in the process. In some contexts or uses it may be more limited, but money may also be used to refer to any capital, property and anything else that is transferred in commerce.

In law, money must be acceptable as a medium of exchange and must be capable of being expressed authoritatively as a recognized unit of account; in particular, it means legal tender. This quality may be attributed to "all chattels which, issued by the authority of the law and denominated with reference to a unit of account, are meant to serve as a universal medium of exchange in the State of issue." F.A. Mann, The Legal Aspects of Money (5th ed. 1992), p. 8. "'Money' means a medium of exchange authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government as a part of its currency." United States Uniform Commercial Code § 1-201(24). The Uniform Commercial Code does not require that "money" be 'legal tender', although it should be something that is "given credence or honor by the authority of a government", UCC § 1-201:362. The Code expressly includes federal reserve notes and excludes checks and coin collections from the definition of money (UCC §§ 1-201:363, 1-201:362; Anno: 40 ALR4th 346: UCC—"Money"). "[M]oney as commonly understood is not necessarily legal tender. Any medium which by practice fulfils the function of money and which every one will accept in payment of a debt is money in the ordinary sense of the word", Reference re Alberta Legislation [1938] SCR 100, [1939] 2 DLR 81, 92 (Can)

In its contemporary usage money, or 'money supply', refers to the sum total of cash and credit available in the economy, including cash, legal tender, demand deposits at the bank (or similar guardians of such liquid assets), accountable credit extended to facilitate the acquisition of goods, and, sometimes, time deposits.

The precise meaning of money depends on the time, place and context. In a primitive economy, it may be limited to coins. For the modern execution of a debt, it may be limited to legal tender. In economic management, it may mean all or part of the money supply. In a will it may, if the context so implies, extend to the worth or value of a person's total estate, or especially the residue of an estate after taking account of all other bequests or devises(Re Mellor [1929] 1 Ch 46; Re Barnes's Will Trusts, Prior v Barnes [1975] 1 WLR 515, [1972] 2 All ER 639; In re Williamson's Estate, 302 Pa 462, 153 A 765 (1931); Haynes v. Henderson, 345 SW.2d 857, 861 (Tex Civ App 1961)).See also capital money, interest, money's worth.

53A Am.Jur.2d., Money, §§ 1-87.
32 Halsbury's Laws of England, Money (4th ed. 2005 Reissue), paras. 101-222.
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