If you have ever read a company’s financial filings, you are likely to discover a high volume of opaque jargon. Sometimes, these documents are designed to obscure the financial state of a company, rather than to clarify it. One word, however, is easy to tackle. Most people use money, but in certain financial contexts, moneys and monies also appear. What do these words mean, and why is anyone pluralizing money anyway? Is it a case of poor editing, or was this strange construction used intentionally?
In this article, I will compare monies vs. moneys. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see them in context. Plus, I will show you a mnemonic device you can use to decide between these two words.
The word moneys is the plural of money which originated from Middle English: from Old French moneie, from Latin moneta ‘mint, money’, originally a title of the goddess Juno, in whose temple in Rome money was minted.
Moneys as noun:
Money is a collective noun, meaning it does not usually need a plural. In some legal or financial contexts, though, moneys is used to describe discrete funds, or money from several difference sources.
Use of monies:
Monies is a variant of the same word. It means all the same things, in all the same contexts. Monies was frequently used around the turn of the 19th century, but it was replaced by moneys for over a century before regaining the lead in popular usage in the 1970s.
Despite the uptick in usage over the past 40 years, monies is not considered standard. Most edited prose still uses moneys instead of monies. For formal English, especially in academic or professional settings, you should choose moneys.
Money or monies:
Moneys and monies are variants of the same noun, which means discrete sums of currency. Even though moneys is the standard form, monies is used more frequently. For day-to-day use, either monies or moneys will work fine, but for now, you should stick to moneys in formal contexts. This rule should be easy to remember, since the regular noun is money. To summarize, moneys and monies are the same word, but moneys is the preferred form.