tin + horn, from gambling.
tinhorn (comparative more tinhorn, superlative most tinhorn)
- (US) Cheap, inferior; pretentious.
tinhorn (plural tinhorns)
- (US) A contemptible or pretentious person, especially one who gambles for low stakes.
1899, Stephen Crane, chapter 1, in Twelve O'Clock:
- “[…] Them rich fellers, they don't make no bad breaks with their money. They watch it all th' time b'cause they know blame well there ain't hardly room fer their feet fer th' pikers an' tin-horns an' thimble-riggers what are layin' fer 'em. […]”
2009 February 12, Sandy Sandfort, Scott Bieser and Lee Oaks, “Escape from Terra”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
- I'm to deliver this treaty, signed by Secretary General Tanduk Timah himself. Heh. 'Tanduk Timah' in Bahasa Malay means 'Tin Horn.' How apt.