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See also: pin-money



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pin money (uncountable)

  1. (now historical) An allowance of money given by a man to his wife or to other dependents for their personal, discretionary use. [from 16th c.]
    • 1723, Charles Walker, Memoirs of Sally Salisbury, VI:
      Damn you for a Son of a Bitch! Shall you wear such Things, and I want Pin-Mooney?
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ch. 59:
      Lord bless me! only think! dear me! Mr. Darcy! . . . Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!
    • 1886, George Gissing, Demos: A Story of English Socialism, ch. 27:
      [H]e practised economy in the matter of his wife's pin-money.
    • 1911, David Graham Phillips, The Conflict, ch. 7:
      But these sums were but a small part of their income, were merely pin money for their wives and children.
    • 1921, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, Castles in the Air, ch. 3:
      Certain it is that out of the lavish pin-money which her father gave her as a free gift from time to time, she only doled out a meagre allowance to her husband.
  2. (idiomatic, dated) A relatively small sum of cash kept in one's personal possession, for routine expenses or incidental purchases; an amount of money which is not particularly significant. [from 18th c.]
    • 1892, Mark Twain, The American Claimant, ch. 3:
      "Money—yes; pin money: a couple of hundred thousand, perhaps. Not more."
      Washington's eyes blazed.
      "A couple of hundred thousand dollars! do you call that pin money?"
    • 1912, O. Henry, "A Ruler of Men" in Rolling Stones:
      "Where is Reddy McGill now?" . . .
      "Putting up windmills in Arizona. For pin money to buy etceteras with."
    • 1917, Christopher Morley, Parnassus on Wheels, ch. 3:
      "[T]he housekeeping accounts fall to me. I make a fairish amount of pin money on my poultry and some of my preserves that I send to Boston."



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