Word of the Day : September 6, 2011


noun PELF


: money, riches


"Nowadays Western Union is good only if you want to wire cash to your child in college or pelf to a partner in peril." -- From an editorial by Vincent L. Hall in The Dallas Morning News, June 19, 2011

"On an island with the third-highest GDP per capita in the world, where every British bank has a presence, where numberless tax-dodgers stash their pelf, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising." -- From an article by Oliver Thring in the Guardian Unlimited, April 20, 2011

Did You Know?

In the 14th century, the Anglo-French word "pelfre," meaning "booty" or "stolen goods," was exchanged into English as "pelf" with the added meaning of "property." ("Pelfre" is also an ancestor of the English verb "pilfer," meaning "to steal.") Two centuries later "pelf" showed gains when people began to use it for "money" and "riches." In some regions of Britain the word's use was diversified further, in a depreciative way, to refer to trash and good-for-nothings. The first of those meanings was a loss by about the mid-17th century; the second has little value outside of the Yorkshire region of England.

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