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



  • nonfinancial
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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 Our department’s proposal makes clear that trustees must keep savers’ retirement income at front of mind, and not use workers’ and retirees’ savings for non-pecuniary purposes. Patrick Pizzella, Fortune, "In retirement plans, ‘social responsibility’ can’t outweigh financial performance," 6 July 2020 There was thus an indefensible political—rather than pecuniary—purpose, as well as direct presidential involvement in the obstruction of justice, a process which extended to doctoring and withholding evidence requested by Congress. The Economist, "The politics and history behind Donald Trump’s impeachment," 12 Dec. 2019 This opens up the door for support, for guidance to the right resources, and ultimately more pecuniary clarity and success. Wendy Rose Gould, NBC News, "Want to boost your salary or savings? Get better at talking about money," 8 Oct. 2019 Scholarly commentators and pundits generally shrink from ascribing base pecuniary motives to the military-industrial complex. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "The Military-Industrial Virus," 10 June 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for pecuniary

Time Traveler

The first known use of pecuniary was in 1506

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Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pecuniary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for pecuniary


How to pronounce pecuniary (audio)

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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