The first necessary step to take to understand the meaning of the term pecuniary is to establish its etymological origin. In this sense, we could determine that it derives from Latin, specifically from the word “pecuniarius”. This can be translated as “related to cash” and is made up of two clearly delimited parts:

-The noun “pecunia”, which is equivalent to “cash”.
-The suffix “-ario”, which is used to indicate “membership”.


The pecuniary is that linked to money.

The pecuniary and the money

It’s about a adjective which usually names what is linked to the liquid money, that is, in cash (banknotes and coins of immediate availability).

For instance: “We only accept pecuniary payments: no exchange”, “I am not interested in symbolic recognitions, but rather I prefer financial awards that allow me to pay the bills”, “The pecuniary collaboration of the neighbors is essential so that the works can be developed”.

The pecuniary, therefore, is associated with money. Suppose that the authorities of a club wish to take advantage of a vacant lot to build a tennis court. Before confirming the development of the project, they analyze various issues, such as the conditions of the land and the potential use of the infrastructure. In this study, of course, one of the keys will be the pecuniary matter (how much will the works cost).


A pecuniary penalty obliges the sanctioned person to make a payment.

An economic sanction

A pecuniary penalty, on the other hand, it is a sanction that obliges the punished to disburse a certain sum of money. Yes one person parks your vehicle in a place that is not allowed, a road inspector may impose a penalty fee which consists of the payment of two hundred pesos. Said fine, therefore, is a pecuniary punishment.

That type of pecuniary penalty, it must be said that it is not only one of the most common ways of punishing a person within administrative law but also has its notable presence in the field of criminal law. In the latter case, the minimum penalty that can be imposed on a convicted person is precisely the payment of a fine, compared to the harshest and maximum that would be the entry into prison.

Obligation, legacy and pecuniary damages

In the same way, we cannot ignore the existence of what is known as a pecuniary obligation. This is a term that is used to refer to the duty of one party to carry out the delivery of cash to another, as a sign of service.

Also within the scope of law there is also what is known as pecuniary legacy. This term is used to refer, for example, to the specific amount of money that a deceased person has left with a person after their death and that is strictly included in their will.

In a similar sense, a certain action can cause a pecuniary damage against a person, a company or an organization. This happens if an environmental group promotes a boycott against a company that pollutes a river with its production processes: the intention will be to cause economic problems so that it ceases its activity.