Definition of sterling in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstəːlɪŋ/


[mass noun]
1British money: prices in sterling are shown [as modifier]: issues of sterling bonds
More example sentences
  • Some of the Irish money was converted into sterling and is believed to have been smuggled back into the country, the sources said.
  • In the historiography of post-war Britain, the management of sterling as an international currency is often seen as an example of this dilemma.
  • But why are all prices charged in sterling on an Irish airline, even on flights between two eurozone countries?
2 short for sterling silver. [as modifier]: a sterling spoon


(Of a person or their work or qualities) excellent or valuable: this organization does sterling work for youngsters
More example sentences
  • He praised the sterling work of the Friends of St. Patrick's for their enormous contributions to the betterment of the life of patients and staff at the hospital.
  • A most wonderful lady of sterling qualities, she was deeply religious.
  • George was a most remarkable man of sterling qualities, a wonderful example to his family.
excellent, first-rate, first-class, exceptional, outstanding, splendid, superlative, of the first order, of the highest order, of the first water, magnificent, wonderful, fine, great, praiseworthy, laudable, admirable
informal A1, stellar, top-notch


Middle English: probably from steorra 'star' + -ling (because some early Norman pennies bore a small star). Until recently one popular theory was that the coin was originally made by Easterling moneyers (from the ‘eastern’ Hanse towns), but the stressed first syllable would not have been dropped.

Words that rhyme with sterling


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ster|ling

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