cent (n.)
late 14c., from Latin centum "hundred" (see hundred). Middle English meaning was "one hundred," but it shifted 17c. to "hundredth part" under influence of percent. Chosen in this sense in 1786 as a name for a U.S. currency unit by Continental Congress. The word first was suggested by Robert Morris in 1782 under a different currency plan. Before the cent, Revolutionary and colonial dollars were reckoned in ninetieths, based on the exchange rate of Pennsylvania money and Spanish coin.