[shin-plas-ter, -plah-ster]
  1. a plaster for the shin or leg.
  2. 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.

Origin of shinplaster

An Americanism dating back to 1815–25; shin1 + plaster Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shinplaster

Historical Examples of 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


  1. 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