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1. A gold coin equal to two escudos, formerly used in Spain.
2. Any of several gold coins used in various European countries until the late 1800s.

[French, back-formation from pistolet, diminutive of pistole, pistol; see pistol.]


(Currencies) any of various gold coins of varying value, formerly used in Europe
[C16: from Old French, shortened from pistolet, literally: little pistol]



1. a former gold coin of Spain, equal to two escudos.
2. any of various former gold coins of Europe, as the louis d'or.
[1585–95; < Middle French]
References in classic literature ?
I have seen doubloons before now in my voyagings; your doubloons of old Spain, your doubloons of Peru, your doubloons of Chili, your doubloons of Bolivia, your doubloons of Popayan; with plenty of gold moidores and pistoles, and joes, and half joes, and quarter joes.
There were six Spanish pieces of four pistoles each, beside twenty or thirty smaller coins.
On the return of the Bourbons, one of his old friends, the Marquis de Pombreton, formerly lieutenant in the Black mousquetaires, returned to him--so he said--twelve hundred pistoles which he had lent to the marquis for the purpose of emigrating.
I would rather have lost a thousand pistoles than have lost it.
Richelieu," thought D'Artagnan, "would have given me five hundred pistoles in advance.
I have still two hundred and seventy-four pistoles left, and I feel myself rich.
There are a thousand pistoles in this bag, monseigneur - more, far more, than sufficient to purchase the whole marsh of which I have spoken; more than enough to live there as many years as you have days to live; more than enough to constitute you the richest, the freest, and the happiest man in the country.
After a little discourse, he first of all pulled out a deerskin bag, and gave it me, with five-and-fifty Spanish pistoles in it, and told me that was to supply my expenses from England, for though it was not his business to inquire, yet he ought to think I did not bring a great deal of money out with me, it not being usual to bring much money into that country.