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pin money

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noun
  1. any small sum set aside for nonessential minor expenditures.
  2. (formerly) an allowance of money given by a husband to his wife for her personal expenditures.

Origin of pin money

First recorded in 1535–45
Related formspin-mon·ey, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pin money

Historical Examples

  • The point was, whether a wife should or should not have pin-money.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 5 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • All that merry-making was the source of the Cabaal's pin-money, for the other seasons of the year.

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo)

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

  • He must be got rid of before the women had been beguiled into spending all their pin-money.

    The Doomsman

    Van Tassel Sutphen

  • She had her own pin-money income, and she loathed the chain of her title.

  • Even now the allowance which a lady is given for dress is called “pin-money.”

    The Heritage of Dress

    Wilfred Mark Webb


British Dictionary definitions for pin money

pin money

noun
  1. an allowance by a husband to his wife for personal expenditure
  2. money saved or earned to be used for incidental expenses
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with pin money

pin money

Small amounts of money for incidental expenses, as in Grandma usually gives the children some pin money whenever she visits. This expression originally signified money given by a husband to his wife for small personal expenditures such as pins, which were very costly items in centuries past. A will recorded at York in 1542 listed a bequest: “I give my said daughter Margarett my lease of the parsonage . . . to buy her pins.” [Early 1500s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.