phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: See a pin/penny

Posted by TheFallen on February 04, 2003

In Reply to: See a pin/penny posted by blue on February 04, 2003

: there is fifty quid on this!!!!
: See a pin and pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck!
: OR See a penny pick it up......

The following results from www.googlefight.com:-

See a pin and pick it up - 102 hits
See a pin, pick it up - 13 hits

See a penny and pick it up - 52 hits
See a penny, pick it up - 199 hits

However, although to win the princely sum of fifty quid you'd need a definite reference (which I don't have), it seems that the original saying was "See a pin and pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck. See a pin and let it lie, you'll want a pin before you die."

I took a look at some of the websites returned by googlefight in the searches mentioned above. From what I could tell, where people are using the saying for their own ends - usually as part of some charity drive or something - they're using the apparently incorrect "penny" version. However when the saying is referred to on sites dealing with adages and/or superstitions, it's far more likely to be the "pin" version.

This may well be one of those cases where the original saying has been modified - almost by accident - into something that makes more sense to whoever's using it. Both versions are meant to encourage thrift clearly, but the "pin" version has far more superstitious and ominous implications.

Phrases and sayings sometimes change for well-meaning but misguided reasons. I'm reminded of a previous discussion here over "Well if you think that, then you've got another think/thing coming", where the "thing" version is apparently by now more widely-used, at least in the US, in an unnecessary attempt to be more grammatically correct - much to my continued amazement.

Someone else here will probably provide you with a documented reference, deciding the fate of the fifty quid once and for all.