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pin money

any small sum set aside for nonessential minor expenditures.
(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 forms
pin-money, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pin money
Historical Examples
  • You have five hundred dollars pin money to spend as you like; but I have no pin money.

    Married August Strindberg
  • And the chance of having to beg for your carfare and pin money.

    The Widow Helen Rowland
  • How much of your pin money goes each month to charity already?

  • With this assurance, you can afford to use the present check as pin money.

    Where the Path Breaks Charles de Crspigny
  • Now, usually, when she wanted any pin money, she had to Pry it out of him.

    More Fables George Ade
  • I had also, in my purse, 100 scudi in gold, which I had saved from my pin money.

  • But it was possible, for a thousand dollars was only pin money to the millions which Mrs. Van Verity Vanness controlled.

  • Every time her husband handed over her allowance of pin money, she put at least half of it in her "strong box."

    Idle Hour Stories Eugenia Dunlap Potts
  • At that time my cash allowance for pin money was twenty-five cents a week.

    Geraldine Farrar Geraldine Farrar
  • Her supply of pin money is painfully small, judged by the standard which has hitherto been her guide.

    The Spinster Book Myrtle Reed
British Dictionary definitions for pin money

pin money

an allowance by a husband to his wife for personal expenditure
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
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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 Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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