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Re: Pin money

Posted by ESC on June 03, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Pin money posted by bella on June 03, 2003

: : The term "spending money" (extra money to be spent on frivolous or incidental things) came up in conversation today. I was told that the British equivalent of this American term is "pin money". Merriam-Webster dates it back to 1697, but gives no origin. Any ideas on the origin, and why the word "pin" is used?

: : (I only think it is British because I was told that it was seen in a Jane Austen novel).

: I don't know how accurate this is, but I think it has to do with the way people used to use straight pins to pin some paper money to the inside of their clothing----to a woman's petticoat or the inside of a man's jacket---for protection or for emergencies, the old "This way it'll be there if you need it" routine.

I read a good explanation somewhere about when pins were a novelty, etc., something every housewife wanted and needed. But I can't find it now. Here's what I did find:

PIN MONEY - "I suppose that the very earliest notion of 'pin money' was literal - just enough money with which a wife could buy pins.But in the early 16th century and onward the amount was considerably larger. 'Money to buy her pins' was enough, not only for the purchase of pins, but for all other personal expenses." From "2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to a Song and Dance" by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Book, New York, 1993).