Cash, Johnny, 1932-2003, American singer and songwriter, b. Kingsland, Ark. Born to a farm family, he went to Memphis in 1955 and recorded hits such as "I Walk the Line" (1956) and "Ring of Fire" (1963), written with his second wife, singer June Carter Cash of the famous country dynasty (see Carter family). A major figure in country and western music, Cash lent a unique note of grace and gravitas to the genre with his all-black wardrobe redolent of rebellion and mourning, his rumbling bass-baritone voice, and the often tragic subject matter of his songs. Nonetheless, one of his biggest hits was the humorous "A Boy Named Sue" (1969). Cash, who mingled elements of folk, country, and rock in his music, won 11 Grammies and was elected to both the Country Music and Rock and Roll hall of fames. Noted for his performances at prisons and his appearances in concert, on television, and in films, he continued to tour until 1997.

See his autobiography (1997); H. George-Warren and M. Evans, Johnny Cash in His Own Words (2003); M. Streissguth, ed., Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Reader (2002); biographies by S. Dolan (1996), F. Moriarty (1998), G. Campbell (2003), S. Miller (2003), and M. Streissguth (2006); V. Cash, I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny (2007).

Cash usually refers to money in the form of currency, such as banknotes and coins.

In bookkeeping and finance, "cash" refers to current assets comprised of currency or currency equivalents that can be accessed immediately or near-immediately (as in the case of money market accounts).


The English word cash is of the French caisse, itself a borrowing of the Provençal caissa. That Provençal word is a derivative of the Latin capsa (box, chest), most likely by way of an unattested Vulgar Latin form *capsea; Spanish caja and Portuguese caixa are their respective languages' reflexes. From the original sense of a box or a chest, the word came to refer to a sum of money such as was or might be contained in one, and eventually to specie or, with the elimination of metallic standards, banknotes. In this sense, it is used in contrast to credit or other financial instruments.

Historical usage in Asia

The word was formerly used also to refer to certain low-value coins used in South and East Asia. This sense derives from the Tamil/Telugu kāsu, a South Indian monetary unit which can be traced back to Sanskrit karsa, a weight of gold or silver but akin to Old Persian karsha-, a weight. a unit of value equivalent to one cash coin. The early European representations of this Tamil/Telugu word, including Portuguese caxa and English cass, merged the existing words caixa and cash, which had similar connections with money. In the pre-1818 South Indian monetary system, the cash was the basic coin, with 80 cash equalling a fanam and 42 fanams equalling a star pagoda worth roughly 7s. 8d.

This assimilated Tamil/Telugu word was then applied to various other coins with which European traders came into contact, including the famous holed cash coins of China, the Chinese cash. These coins were commonly strung on cords for use in larger transactions; 1000 equalled a tael.


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