pound1 / pound/ • n. 1. (abbr.: lb) a unit of weight in general use equal to 16 oz. avoirdupois (0.4536 kg). ∎ a unit of weight equal to 12 oz. troy (0.3732 kg) used for precious metals. 2. (also pound ster·ling (pl. pounds ster·ling) ) the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. ∎ another term for punt4 . ∎ the basic monetary unit of several Middle Eastern countries, equal to 100 piastres. ∎ the basic monetary unit of Cyprus, equal to 100 cents. ∎ a monetary unit of the Sudan, equal to one tenth of a dinar. PHRASES: one's pound of flesh something that one is strictly or legally entitled to, but that it is ruthless or inhuman to demand. pound2 • v. [tr.] strike or hit heavily and repeatedly: Patrick pounded the couch with his fists U.S. gunships pounded the capital| [intr.] pounding on the door, she shouted at the top of her voice. ∎ crush or grind (something) into a powder or paste by beating it with an instrument such as a pestle: pound the cloves with salt and pepper until smooth. ∎ [intr.] beat, throb, or vibrate with a strong regular rhythm: her heart was pounding. ∎ [intr.] walk or run with heavy steps: I heard him pounding along the gangway. ∎ inf. defeat (an opponent) in a resounding way: [tr.] the Yankees pounded the Red Sox 22–1. PHRASES: pound the beat (of a police officer) patrol an assigned route or area. pound the pavement walk the streets in an effort to accomplish something: I will pound the pavement from city to city in order to explain the dangers. ∎ search diligently for something, typically for a job: although the country's current jobless rate is small, the number of people pounding the pavement has become a growing worry. PHRASAL VERBS: pound something out type something with heavy keystrokes: an old typewriter on which she pounded out her poems. ∎ produce music by striking an instrument heavily and repeatedly: the women pounded out a ringing tattoo on several oil drums. pound3 • n. a place where stray animals, esp. dogs, may be officially taken and kept until claimed by their owners or otherwise disposed of. ∎ a place where illegally parked motor vehicles removed by the police are kept until their owners pay a fine in order to reclaim them. ∎ archaic a place of confinement; a trap or prison. • v. [tr.] archaic shut (an animal) in a pound.
In the UK in the late 20th century the pound as a monetary unit has become emblematic of a desire to preserve British currency from the European standardization already applied by metrication to weights and measures.
one's pound of flesh something one is strictly or legally entitled to, but which it is ruthless or inhuman to demand. The allusion is to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, and the bond between Antonio and Shylock by which Antonio pledges a pound of his own flesh if he defaults on the bill. Shylock's insistence (defeated by Portia) on holding to the letter of the agreement is taken as a type of rapacity and ferocity.
See also an ounce of practice is worth a pound of precept, take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves, in for a penny, in for a pound, penny wise and pound foolish.