pinch·​beck ˈpinch-ˌbek How to pronounce pinchbeck (audio)
: an alloy of copper and zinc used especially to imitate gold in jewelry
: something counterfeit or spurious
pinchbeck adjective

Did you know?

On November 27, 1732, an advertisement ran in a British newspaper announcing that "the toys made of the late ingenious Mr. Pinchbeck's curious metal ... are now sold only by his son. . .." The Mr. Pinchbeck in question was Christopher Pinchbeck, a London watchmaker who invented the alloy that would be posthumously named for him. Although the metal is used as a substitute for gold, the word pinchbeck, which can also be used as an adjective, didn't acquire its "counterfeit" sense until the 1790s, over 50 years after Pinchbeck's death.

Word History


Christopher Pinchbeck †1732 English watchmaker

First Known Use

1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pinchbeck was in 1734


Dictionary Entries Near pinchbeck

Cite this Entry

“Pinchbeck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

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