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In economics, cash is money in the physical form of currency, such as banknotes and coins. In bookkeeping and finance, cash is current assets comprising currency or currency equivalents that can be accessed immediately or near-immediately (as in the case of money market accounts). Cash is seen either as a reserve for payments, in case of a structural or incidental negative cash flow or as a way to avoid a downturn on financial markets.

The English word cash is derived from the Kannada / Tamil / Malayalam / Telugu (South Indian Dravidian languages) word kaasu meaning money. In Southern India the word kaasu/kasa is still used today to refer to money and cash in the aforementioned languages. The history of usage is not clear however, available documents point to the fact that the same word was in usage for over a thousand years far before the arrival of outsiders including Arabs and Europeans on the continent. Later traders of Persian, Arab and European origins, who started trading (spice trade) with the Southern India princely states, used the modified version of the word. They started and employed the modified usage of the word during the reign of Cyrus II followed by the establishment of the “formal” banking system and around the same time of the establishment of the credit and checking unions during the reign of Darius I, who also minted the first face-coins. This form along with this meaning entered into Latin giving rise to forms such as capsa “money box” (cf. OPers. Kshatrapavan = Satrap “an ancient Persian commercial and state confinement”) and case eventually passing into Middle French as caisse meaning “money in hand, coin.”


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