: two-bit sense 1
tin-pot dictators

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Tin has never commanded as much respect as some other metals. As a reflection of this, its name has long been used in terms denoting the tawdry or petty. Tin-pot has been used for minor or insignificant things or people since the early 1800s. Tinhorn has named fakes or frauds (especially gamblers) since the second half of that century, and tin lizzie has been a nickname for an inexpensive car since Ford introduced the Model T. Another example is tin-pan, meaning "noisy, harsh, tinny." That word features in the name of the famous Tin Pan Alley, in which it evokes the tinny sound of pianos pounded furiously by musicians plugging tunes to producers.

Examples of tin-pot in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Business after business has rolled over for the tin-pot dictatorship of Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tin-pot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tin-pot was in 1838


Dictionary Entries Near tin-pot

Cite this Entry

“Tin-pot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tin-pot. Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

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