Posted by Word Camel on February 13, 2005
In Reply to: Hard-fitting-the meaning posted by dragana on February 13, 2005
: : I was just reading an old post from 2003 about "who coined the phrase "to coin a phrase". To coin a phrase doesn't really refer to a phrase coined by any specific person as it does to refer to a specific action. Coining a phrase means exactly what is says. Certain political, social, religious, or reformists groups and causes would promote their specific cause by placing a phrase or slogan on a coin that would often be handed to the general public. These coins were rarely "Legal tender" type coins but rather more celebratory, promotional, or commemorative. Many times these coins were more for political reform movements such as the effort to repeal the American Gold Standard, The Women's suffrage movement, Presidential elections, etc. In these cases certain phrases would literally be coined or minted. Today such collectibles are highly sought after and coveted by antiques dealers and collectors.
This got me to wondering, so I did a little research. While it is true that slogans were ingraved on token coins at one point, to coin or frame a phrase seems to predate this practice. The OED records its first use as 1589.