Posted by R. Berg on June 04, 2007
In Reply to: Chum change posted by Smokey Stover on June 04, 2007
: : What is the origin of the phrase 'chum change'? Isn't 'chump change' incorrect?
: I take it you have looked this up in the archive, but are unsatisfied with what you found. "Chump" is often used to describe a dupe or a naive fool. The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that "chump change" means a small or negligible amount of money, that it's slang of African-American origin, and that it can be found in print at least as early as 1967.
A little more: "Chump change" is a derisive label for low wages, like those paid to semiskilled workers at fast-food restaurant chains, rather than a lump sum. The idea is that only a chump will accept such a low-paying job. ~rb