pe·​cu·​ni·​ary | \ pi-ˈkyü-nē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce pecuniary (audio) \

Definition of pecuniary

1 : consisting of or measured in money pecuniary aid pecuniary gifts
2 : of or relating to money pecuniary needs pecuniary rewards

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Other Words from pecuniary

pecuniarily \ pi-​ˌkyü-​nē-​ˈer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce pecuniarily (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pecuniary


dollars-and-cents, financial, fiscal, monetary, pocket



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Did You Know?

Pecuniary first appeared in English in the early 16th century and comes from the Latin word pecunia, which means "money." Both this root and Latin peculium, which means "private property," are related to the Latin noun for cattle, pecus. In early times, cattle were viewed as a trading commodity (as they still are in some parts of the world), and property was often valued in terms of cattle. Pecunia has also given us impecunious, a word meaning "having little or no money," while peculium gave us peculate, a synonym for "embezzle." In peculium you might also recognize the word peculiar, which originally meant "exclusively one's own" or "distinctive" before acquiring its current meaning of "strange."

Examples of pecuniary in a Sentence

that makes good pecuniary sense the judge recused himself from the case because he had a pecuniary interest in the company that was being sued

Recent Examples on the Web

Since the Dodd-Frank Act requires shareholder votes on CEO pay, for example, executives had a pecuniary incentive to seek their advice. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Cracking the Proxy Racket," 17 Sep. 2018 Like all professionals, public-school teachers choose where to work on the basis of a number of factors, including student quality and other non-pecuniary characteristics. Reihan Salam, The Atlantic, "The GOP’s Public-Education Dilemma," 29 May 2018 Stoking populist rage at undocumented immigrants does not threaten the pecuniary interests of a major media company’s owners; stoking populist rage at the economic elite does. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The Democratic Party Has an ‘MSNBC Problem’," 16 May 2018 The jury convicted Hendrix on three counts of capital murder: murder for pecuniary gain, pursuant to a contract for hire; murder committed during a first-degree burglary; and, murder committed during a first-degree robbery. Carol Robinson,, "Capital murder conviction upheld for Birmingham man in lawyer's shooting, stabbing death," 25 Apr. 2018 Cutting taxes for the wealthy is not some minor pecuniary errand to Ryan but a defense of liberty and a moral calling of the highest order. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Is a Trump Lackey for One Reason," 6 Mar. 2018 Democratic Party primaries will almost by definition draw out disagreements over taxes and transfers, but in 2016 the primacy of fiscal issues ended up giving short shrift to less pecuniary consequences of increasing concentrations of wealth. Brian Beutler, New Republic, "How Democrats Can Wage War on Monopolies—and Win," 16 Sep. 2017 With its court action, the ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective publication orders, orders for a compliance program and costs. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Australia's Competition Authority Launches Court Action Against Viagogo," 28 Aug. 2017 Less explicitly clear but of obvious concern are Trump’s own pecuniary interests. Chris Sagers, Slate Magazine, "Donald Trump’s high-profile apparent merger meetings are a major cause for alarm.," 13 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pecuniary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pecuniary

1506, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pecuniary

Latin pecuniarius, from pecunia money — more at fee

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Statistics for pecuniary

Last Updated

25 May 2019

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Time Traveler for pecuniary

The first known use of pecuniary was in 1506

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More Definitions for pecuniary



English Language Learners Definition of pecuniary

formal : relating to or in the form of money


pe·​cu·​ni·​ary | \ pi-ˈkyü-nē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce pecuniary (audio) \

Legal Definition of pecuniary

: consisting of, measured in, or relating to money pecuniary damages

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Comments on pecuniary

What made you want to look up pecuniary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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