Origins of Wonga
The payday lender Wonga has gone into administration. How did ‘wonga’ come to be used as slang for money?
— The term is believed to have derived from the Romany word ‘wangar’ which, although used as a term for money, in fact means ‘coal’. This in turn has Indo-Iranian origins.
— In English, too, ‘coal’ or ‘cole’ were used as slang for ‘money’ in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the possession of coal really did equate to wealth.