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Pin money

Posted by Bookworm 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).