pinch·​beck | \ ˈpinch-ˌbek How to pronounce pinchbeck (audio) \

Definition of pinchbeck

1 : an alloy of copper and zinc used especially to imitate gold in jewelry
2 : something counterfeit or spurious

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pinchbeck

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.

First Known Use of pinchbeck

1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pinchbeck

Christopher Pinchbeck †1732 English watchmaker

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pinchbeck

Time Traveler for pinchbeck

Time Traveler

The first known use of pinchbeck was in 1734

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about pinchbeck

Statistics for pinchbeck

Cite this Entry

“Pinchbeck.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on pinchbeck

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pinchbeck

Comments on pinchbeck

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


the study of flags

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!