skinflint


a person avoiding spending money

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“A proposal in 2018 … (to curb EU spending) … led to howls in Dutch, German, Swedish and Danish. Since then, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands have teamed up to turn up the volume. This SKINFLINT foursome proudly refer to themselves as the Frugal Four.”

“Charlemagne” in The Economist  – 30 January 2020

Did you
know?

skinflint
noun

- a person who is unwilling to spend money

The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary


WORD ORIGIN

A “skinflint” is an 18th century expression describing a person who would “skin a flint” to save or gain something. In this context, the verb “skin” means to remove the hide from an animal, and a “flint” is a stone fragment used to create a spark to ignite a fire. Since a flint has no skin that can be removed, “skinflint” is a metaphor for someone who would go to impossible lengths to save small amounts of money.


EXTREME SAVING

In 2002, the British multi-millionaire Nicholas van Hoogstragen was sent to prison for ten years for the murder of his partner. Police officers who performed the search in his house found a large number of used tea bags. He had dried and used them to make tea all over again.

Van Hoogstragen’s private mansion (Hamilton Palace in East Sussex) is larger than Buckingham Palace and is worth £40 million. The mansion includes a marble mausoleum intended for himself.

Under English law, perpetual trusts are only allowed in the upkeep of monuments and graves. By using his palace as a mausoleum, van Hoogstraten’s trust would legally own the buildings and their fittings in perpetuity after his death.


SYNONYMS

- a person who hoards money rather than spending it:

cheapie, cheapo, cheapskate, cheese-parer, churl, curmudgeon, hoarder, meanie, money-grubber, miser, niggard, penny-pincher, piker, pinchfist, pinchpenny, saver, screw, Scrooge, SKINFLINT, stiff, tight-arse, tightwad


SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Hey John, the waiter really deserves a bigger tip. Don’t be such a SKINFLINT!”


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