coin vs. piece

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  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I invariably refer to coins in this manner: Penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty-cent piece, silver dollar, (and our long lost cousin) a Susan B. Anthony dollar.

    The only "piece" I use is the "fifty-cent piece".
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, but you didn't use "coin" with the others, either.

    I would say "quarter," "twenty-five cent coin," or "twenty-five cent piece." They're equivalent.

    The danger in using "piece" is that it requires context to be understood as referring to a coin, since that word has so many other meanings. If I say "I'd give all the coins in my pocket for a slice of that pizza," the meaning is clear. If I say "I'd give all the pieces in my pocket for a slice of that pizza," the response is likely to be a puzzled "Pieces of what?" The word "coin" is never confusing.
     

    stormwreath

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In British English, I'd only use 'piece' to describe a coin that was a fraction of a pound: it's "five pence piece", "fifty pence piece" but "pound coin" - never "pound piece".

    A coin is the physical object. the word piece is only used in connection with its value: "The five pence piece is our smallest coin".
     
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