Le titre est la question.

Does monnayage refer to coin-making (minting) or manufacturing of money in general?


The primary sense is minting, but since the invention of banknote, it has a wider sense. Exactly like “frapper la monnaie” which is now both minting and printing, whereas we don't frappe banknotes literally.

Concerning monnayage, another common usage is figurative and means converting the value of something into money.

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Monnayage : "Fabrication de la monnaie à partir d'un métal ou d'un alliage monétaire.
Faux monnayage : fabrication de fausse monnaie." (Le Robert)

So it is only about coin-making

But : "Monnayable (adj) : que l'on peu monnayer, dont on peut tirer de l'argent" (Le Robert)
sound like English : able to sell something to have some coins, or money in general.

Banknote are printable.

"Monétaire : Relatif à la monnaie" is used for banknote and coins, usually used as Masse monétaire in financial markets, politics : "SMI : Système Monétaire International". Abstract notion.

Complément Monnaie de PARIS est un établissement qui frappe encore les collections de pièces rares sur place dans le centre de PARIS.

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In the figurative sense, monnayer (with an a, not e) means "getting paid for something". Almost inevitably this invokes the idea of some sort of corruption or debasement (of what is being sold). I've hardly ever seen monnayage used for those figurative senses (though it probably occurred somewhere).

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  • 1
    I've hardly ever seen monnayage used in a non figurative sense :-) – Stéphane Gimenez Apr 20 '12 at 10:27

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