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August 6, 2020

Word of the Day: Pelf

1 CQ

Word of the Day : October 24, 2017

pelf \PELF\ noun


: money, riches


"Nowadays Western Union is good only if you want to wire cash to your child in college or pelf to a partner in peril." — Vincent L. Hall, The Dallas Morning News, 19 June 2011

"The glitter of guineas is like the glitter of buttercups, the chink of pelf is like the chime of bells, compared with the dreary papers and dead calculations which make the hobby of the modern miser." — G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men, 1912

Did You Know?

In the late Middle Ages, the Anglo-French word pelfre, meaning "booty" or "stolen goods," was borrowed into English as pelf with the added meaning of "property." (Pelfre is also an ancestor of the English verb pilfer, meaning "to steal.") Eventually, pelf showed gains when people began to use it for "money" and "riches." In some regions of Britain the word's use was diversified further, in a depreciative way, to refer to trash and good-for-nothings. The first of those meanings was a loss by about the mid-17th century; the second has little value outside of the Yorkshire region of England.

Aired October 24, 2017

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