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

Other Words from pecuniary

pecuniarily \ pi-​ˌkyü-​nē-​ˈer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce pecuniary (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pecuniary



  • nonfinancial
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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. Among Latin speakers (as among many other populations, past and present) cattle were viewed as a trading commodity, 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 "characteristic of only one" 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 Assane’s quest for revenge against Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre), the man who wrongly accused his father for his own pecuniary gain, is now taking its toll, putting his family and himself in harm’s way. Sheena Scott, Forbes, 12 June 2021 The motives would be principled rather than pecuniary. Michael Poliakoff, Forbes, 28 June 2021 Though Rolls-Royce wouldn’t discuss anything so gauche as pecuniary matters, the price tag of the new Boat Tail is likely to have been exponentially higher than this sum. Christian Barker, Forbes, 27 May 2021 The dignity and creative-pecuniary value of consumer in-market knowledge. Peter Weedfald, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Preserving power, and the pecuniary interests that come with it, is the priority. Clarissa Ward, CNN, 9 Apr. 2021 For example, the prejudgment interest statutes in Massachusetts and Minnesota limit the application of prejudgment interest in personal injury cases to pecuniary damages. Kevin Bessler, Washington Examiner, 26 Mar. 2021 The Labor Department, headed by Eugene Scalia, son of the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, this year finalized a rule stating that retirement plan fiduciaries must base investment decisions solely on pecuniary factors. Peter Coy,, 22 Dec. 2020 Foxx’s example demonstrates the extent to which the right kind of pecuniary inducements can transform those who swing through the regulator-to-private-sector revolving door. Steven Higashide, The New Republic, 25 Sep. 2020

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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The first known use of pecuniary was in 1506

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Dictionary Entries Near pecuniary

peculium adventicium


pecuniary unit

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Statistics for pecuniary

Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pecuniary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for pecuniary



English Language Learners Definition of pecuniary

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on pecuniary

Nglish: Translation of pecuniary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pecuniary for Arabic Speakers


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