[ shin-plas-ter, -plah-ster ]
/ ˈʃɪnˌplæs tər, -ˌplɑ stər /


a plaster for the shin or leg.
Informal. (formerly)
  1. a piece of paper money of a denomination lower than one dollar.
  2. money of little value, as that issued on insufficient security.

Nearby words

  1. shinleaf,
  2. shinner,
  3. shinnery,
  4. shinny,
  5. shinola,
  6. shinto,
  7. shinty,
  8. shiny,
  9. ship,
  10. ship biscuit

Origin of shinplaster

An Americanism dating back to 1815–25; shin1 + plaster Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shinplaster

  • If evry boddy had a fashun ov their own, it wud make az mutch trubble az a shinplaster kurrensy.

    Josh Billings, Hiz Sayings|Henry Wheeler Shaw
  • The Shinplaster was in the shape of a promissory note, made payable on demand.

    Three Years in Europe|William Wells Brown

British Dictionary definitions for shinplaster


/ (ˈʃɪnˌplɑːstə) /


US, Canadian and Australian a promissory note on brittle paper, issued by an individual

Word Origin for shinplaster

C19: so called because of its resemblance to a sticking plaster

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

Word Origin and History for shinplaster



also shin-plaster, piece of paper soaked in vinegar and used to treat sore legs, from shin (n.) + plaster (n.). In U.S. history, jocularly or as a term of abuse for "devalued low-denomination paper currency" (1824).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper