美元的起源 The origin of dollar
The origin of the almighty dollar is in what is now the Czech Republic. In 1519, a silver mine near the town of Joachimstal (literally "Joachim's valley," from the German Tal, meaning valley) began minting a silver coin called, unimaginatively, the Joachimstaler. The coin, which was circulated widely, became better known by its clipped form, the taler. In Dutch and Low German, the initial consonant softened to become daler. English adopted this form, eventually changing its spelling to the modern dollar. (来源：英语麦当劳－英语快餐EnglishCN.com)
In the American colonies, there was no standard currency. The coin that was in widest use was the Spanish Peso, known also as "Pieces of Eight" because it could be divided into eight pie-like pieces. The English colonists informally assigned the name dollar to this coin. In 1785, when the Continental Congress established U.S. currency, they adopted dollar as name for the standard unit of currency, at the suggestion of Governeur Morris and Thomas Jefferson, because the term was widely known and was not associated with any form of official English currency. (Jefferson also coined the term disme, from the French dixieme, for a tenth of a dollar. Pronounced deem, it eventually became dime.)
The origin of the $ sign has several folkloric stories attached. One says that Thomas Jefferson invented it, perhaps as a sort of monogram for TS. Jefferson was the first to use the symbol in relation to the U.S. dollar, but this story is fanciful. Another says that originally it was U superimposed over an S, for U.S. of course. Eventually the base of the U eroded due to poor printing technology, leaving an S with two lines through it. Another says that it is a variant of a figure eight that appeared on the Spanish Peso, standing for the pieces of eight. This last is close to the truth, but not quite there.
The Spanish royal family used on its escutcheon, two pillars (representing the Pillars of Hercules in Gibraltar and Morocco) crossed by an unfurled banner reading "Plus Ultra." This symbol appeared on the Peso, and looked much like the modern $ sign. It was adopted as a symbol for the Peso in the American colonies, and was transferred to the dollar.
The U.S. was the first nation to adopt an official currency named the dollar. In 1797, the Bank of England began minting "dollar" coins as bank-issued currency. Other nations that have adopted the name dollar for their currency have done so in emulation of either the U.S. or this short-lived Bank of England practice.
至高无上的美元起源于现今的捷克共和国。1519年，位于Joachimstal镇 (意为 Joachim山谷，源于德语“Tal”为“山谷”)附近的一座银矿开始制造银币，银币的名称，不假思索的取名为Joachimster，这种银币广泛流通，后来名称简化为“taler”，变的更加有名。在荷兰及德国南方，taler一词开头的辅音常常软化而变成 “daler”。英语采用了这一形式，最终其拼写为现在的 “dollar”一词的形式。
在美国殖民地，以前没有标准的货币。最广泛使用的是西班牙比索，也称之为 “八片币”，因为它可以分成包子状的八块。英国殖民主义者把这种钱币非正式的称为dollar(元)。1785年，美洲殖民地大会确定了美国货币，他们根据毛里求斯总督和托马斯.杰弗逊的建议把dollar(美元) 作为标准货币单位名称。因为dollar 一词已广为人知，它与任何形式的英国官方货币无关。（杰弗逊还命名了硬币角（disme）, 起源于法语dixieme, 作为一美元的十分之一，发音为“deem”，最终演变为dime）