How would you Define Money in one Word?

Psychology of Money
Psychology of Money

This was the question presented to the folks at Quora by a member of the online community.

As an aside (before we delve into the deluge of the responses from the Quora community), everyone apparently understands what money is or at least has a perception of what constitutes money. I believe money is the most widely accepted legal tender in most societies, which makes it the chief economic pursuit of nearly everyone. How else can one afford food, accommodation, healthcare and clothing, to mention just the basics? Money is among the chief reasons driving almost all human endeavour, yes, even charitable organisations need money to function. Perhaps you may have other opinions concerning money, which I encourage you to share with us.

So, when this user solicited the help of the good people of Quora to describe or explain money in one word, it was guaranteed to elicit many responses, some of which were quite insightful. Here are some of the best bits.

Member, Steven Witcher, describes money as Debit, and his words: Money is ‘A representation of something owed, a debt that was fulfilled by the promise of something else in the future. It’s a medium of exchange, first and foremost. It is a debit that will settle your debts.’ He also called money a Yardstick as it lacks value by itself but instead functions as an idea for measuring the value of goods. He also thinks that money can be described as fascinating given the evolution of trading systems. According to him, taxes predated money, yet money predated the barter system. He further added that ‘Money has been represented by coins, knives, giant stone disks, and even playing cards. It is a commonly misunderstood concept (along with debt) that we use every single day. It’s sought by everyone, hated by many, misrepresented even at collegiate levels, and utterly fascinating.’

Ganapati Shinde, added his voice to the conversation. He believes money can be described as Need. He listed several needs which can only be satisfied by money such as hunger, clothing, healthcare, travel, education and services provided by others.

Nya Starr, thinks money can be described as Distraction. According to him, ‘Everyone is worried about money and nobody has time for life. Nobody gets to actually enjoy life because they are all about work, work, work and money, money, money.’ He also rhetorically questioned the last time anyone made out time just to enjoy nature, family or life.

Bakhtawar Irshad went somewhat metaphysical and described money as God. He explained that money has two parts, a destructive part that is behind chaos, killings, greed, madness and a curative part that can satisfy necessities such as hunger, medicine and health.


Hayley Chung believes money is Motivation, propelling her personally to work hard to achieve a better life.

In Dumitriu Robert’s world, money represents Possibility of doing either the right thing or doing the wrong thing. [Hmm that sure raises some philosophical questions!]

Other responses given by members include controlling, influence, oppression, freedom, ability, time, energy, ego, tool, means, amongst others.

So now you have it, the (near) complete one-word definitions of money per the good people of Quora. Do you agree with them or do you have other definitions which are not included here? We shall be pleased to have your opinion.

Click here to see the complete unedited answers from the responders.

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