Sou is a noun that has multiple meanings depending on the context. In its most common usage, sou refers to a former unit of currency in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, equivalent to a fraction of a franc. It was typically one-twentieth of a franc, or five centimes. The term sou derived from the Latin word 'solidus', which was a gold coin used during the Roman Empire. The coin was historically made of silver and circulated during the 18th and 19th centuries.
On the other hand, sou can also be used colloquially to refer to a small sum of money or a trifling amount. This usage often implies that the amount is insignificant or of little value. For example, "I don't care about spending a sou on this."
Furthermore, sou can denote a slight or insignificant offense or annoyance. This usage is often employed in phrases like "not give a sou" or "not worth a sou," indicating that something has no importance, significance, or worth.
In some contexts, sou can also be used to describe a mild or petty person who is easily offended or annoyed by insignificant matters. This usage is often applied in phrases such as "sensitive as a sou" or "sou disposition," implying someone's easily agitated nature.
Overall, the term sou primarily encompasses the historical unit of currency, as well as its colloquial aspects relating to amounts of money, insignificance, and pettiness.
The word "sou" has its etymological origins in France. It comes from the Old French word "sol", which was a coin that had been in circulation in France since the 12th century. The "sol" originated from the Latin word "solidus", which meant a gold coin used during the Late Roman Empire. Over time, the value of the "sol" reduced, and it became a term commonly used to refer to any small coin, similar to the English term "penny". Hence, "sou" came to signify a small denomination of money. Today, the word "sou" is often associated with the French currency, particularly the 5-centime coin, although it is no longer used in official currency.