IATE Term of the week: Hard money

November 4, 2016 10:00 am

American elections are around the corner. This is why having a look at what newspapers are explaining us about the most used terms and expressions we have decided that IATE Term of the week is hard money.


Hard money is used in the US political and financial jargon and it is the money contributed by an individual directly to a particular campaign. During the elections, individuals can currently contribute with a quantity of $2,500 to a candidate’s primary campaign, and with an additional amount of $2,500 to a candidate’s general election campaign. Anyone can make these donations to multiple and different candidates. The first $250 an individual donates to a candidate’s primary campaign can be matched dollar-for-dollar from federal matching funds. Limits on state-wide elections vary according to state laws of each one of the States.

The origin of this expression is due to the use of hard money policies by a government which backs the value of the currency it uses with a hard, tangible and lasting material that will retain its relative value over time. It literally, describes the use of gold/silver/platinum (bullion) coins, this is why we are still using the adjective “hard” to emphasize it and to give more power to the expression.

As context is crucial in any translation, this is the one that we are proposing you in order to be able to understand better how to use hard money. Find more information, details and the results provided by the IATE data base.




Contribute to IATE! Update the term in your language. A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.

As you can see, the term is mostly used in finances. There is just only one entry for politics and electoral procedures. Maybe you could be the next one to help us improving IATE with a proposal in your mother tongue?


Written by Olga Jeczmyk: Translator-Interpreter, Social Media and Content Manager as well as Communication and Terminology Trainee. Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg.


  • BBC (2016) US election glossary: A-Z guide to political jargon. Available at: http://bbc.in/2fyEeEO (Accessed: 3 November 2016)
  • Dictionary.com (2016) ‘The definition of hard money’, in Available at: http://bit.ly/2eYi4dc (Accessed: 3 November 2016).
  • Investopedia (2016) Available at: http://bit.ly/2ffVwCC (Accessed: 3 November 2016).

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