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pinchbeck

[pinch-bek]
noun
  1. an alloy of copper and zinc, used in imitation of gold.
  2. something sham, spurious, or counterfeit.
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adjective
  1. made of pinchbeck.
  2. sham, spurious, or counterfeit: pinchbeck heroism.
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Origin of pinchbeck

1725–35; named after Christopher Pinchbeck (died 1732), English watchmaker and its inventor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pinchbeck

Historical Examples

  • Nothing but our own pinchbeck ideas could ascribe to Him this pettiness.

    The Conquest of Fear

    Basil King

  • The English lady was pinchbeck by contrast with all about her.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • There are pinchbeck imitations which are neither sacred nor helpful.

    The Family and it's Members

    Anna Garlin Spencer

  • But it was only a pinchbeck thing, an imitation, a bauble, an empty show.

    Following the Equator, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Gold is gold, and pinchbeck is pinchbeck, in character as in metal.


British Dictionary definitions for pinchbeck

pinchbeck

noun
  1. an alloy of copper and zinc, used as imitation gold
  2. a spurious or cheap imitation; sham
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adjective
  1. made of pinchbeck
  2. sham, spurious, or cheap
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Word Origin

C18 (the alloy), C19 (something spurious): after Christopher Pinchbeck (?1670–1732), English watchmaker who invented it
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