Legal tender

Legal tender is a term that has been in use since about 1740. We will examine the definition of the expression legal tender, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Simply put, legal tender is money. Legal tender may be coins or paper money that is authorized as valid to be used to discharge debt. Most often, legal tender is issued by a government, and is accepted as legitimate by other governments. Credit cards, personal checks and virtual money such as cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, though they are  pledges to render legal tender. In this case, the word tender is used to mean to present something in a formal fashion, especially to present money. The term legal tender is a mass noun, which is a noun that is uncountable and does not have a plural form.


The Bank of Namibia this week announced that it does not recognise cryptocurrencies as legal tender in the country, meaning that cryptocurrencies are therefore not considered as an authorised foreign currency and thus the Namibia Dollar is not exchangeable for it. (The Namibia Economist)

A draft Russian bill on cryptocurrency and digital tokens sees them as assets, but not legal tender, so they cannot be used to pay for goods and services in Russia, according to the information on the law introduced into the parliament. (Sputnik International)

The messages were being sent even when finance minister Arun Jaitely in his Budget speech had said cryptocurrency was not legal tender in the country, but the government would explore its underlying technology, called blockchain. (The Deccan Chronicle)

The enactment into law by the 53rd Legislature declaring the Liberian dollar as the sole currency of the country and legal tender last Thursday dominated the Liberian National Bar Association’s (LNBA’s) Annual Assembly with John Davies, President of the Liberia Bankers’ Association (LBA), asking for collaborative efforts to prevent its enforcement by the administration of President George Manneh Weah. (The Liberian Daily Observer)

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