• synonyms


  1. an alloy of copper and zinc, used in imitation of gold.
  2. something sham, spurious, or counterfeit.
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  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


  1. an alloy of copper and zinc, used as imitation gold
  2. a spurious or cheap imitation; sham
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  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