DEFINITION of 'Continentals'
A form of paper currency used in the United States during the time of the revolutionary war (1775-1783). The paper money was used to help finance the cost of the war, but it quickly lost value because it was not backed by a physical asset such as gold or silver, sparking the term "not worth a Continental".
BREAKING DOWN 'Continentals'
Continental currency was replaced by the adoption of the U.S dollar in 1785 because people simply stopped accepting it as payment for goods or trade. The invention of the U.S Mint, the federal monetary system, and the U.S Coinage Act of 1792 all quickly replaced the continentals and have since evolved to become the money system that we know today.