I wanted to use the above to mean "contemporary-ness." when I checked the spelling, my dictionary (American Heritage) didn't list that as a meaning. It apparently can mean a usage or practice is currently "in use," but I was thinking more in terms of contemporary flavor, as "to give a thing currency."

I guess I'm out of luck, right?

Many thanks, - A.
Maybe you're thinking of the word "current" in the sense of "belonging to the present time" (e.g. "current events")? However, I think "contemporary flavor" fits better here, i.e. "to give a thing a contemporary flavor".
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See I've seen this definition in dictionaries before, but I never agree on the example sentences they use. We sometimes use "currency" to describe an action or element that has so much influence it can "buy" reactions from people. For example:

"Your strength and bravery doesn't have any currency here."

So there are dictionaries that will tell you that a sentence like "The currency of a slang term 'phat' in the community cannot be understated" means the "current-ness" or "new-ness" but I disagree. I think most people would understand such a sentence to mean that the slang term 'phat' carries a lot of power in the community, like money.

My dictionary offers 3 meanings.

1. Money or medium of exchange.

2. The condition of being current: prevalence, eg of words or ideas.

3. The time during which something is current.

No doubt #1 is the most common usage. However, I don't find the other meanings odd or unusual.
In Re D is the most recent in a line of cases to raise problems with the determination of legal fatherhood under s.28(3) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The judgments in In Re D are interesting in particular because they demonstrate the growing currency of the idea that a child has a right to ‘genetic truth’. They also further evidence the ‘fragmentation of fatherhood’. This case is best understood as part of a complex and ongoing negotiation of men’s role in the family in the light of shifting family forms.

from the internet, http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/fest/2005/00000013/00000003/00009008

Best wishes, Clive
Thank you all very much. I have the impression that "currency" may describe the degree to which a specific expression, practice, or idea fits into a given "landscape" or period in time, but may not be applied, eg., to a passage of writing as a whole, as describing its style.

Thanks again,

- A.

Seme, I agree with your "influence" usage.
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