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See also: Pinchbeck


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Named after Christopher Pinchbeck, an 18th century London watchmaker who developed the alloy.


pinchbeck (usually uncountable, plural pinchbecks)

  1. An alloy of copper and zinc once used as imitation gold for cheap jewelry.



pinchbeck (comparative more pinchbeck, superlative most pinchbeck)

  1. (not comparable) Made of pinchbeck.
  2. Sham; spurious, artificial; being a cheap substitution; only superficially attractive.
    • 1860, Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage:
      Where, in these pinchbeck days, can we hope to find the old agricultural virtue in all its purity?
    • 1912, Esther Willard Bates, Pageants and Pageantry, page 237,
      Vain Delight must have lost her freshness, and be older and more pinchbeck.
    • 1915, Joseph Conrad, Victory, Note to the First Edition,
      The second point on which I wish to offer a remark is the existence (in the novel) of a person named Schomberg.
      That I believe him to be true goes without saying. I am not likely to offer pinchbeck wares to my public consciously.
    • 1996, John M. Sherwig, Guineas and Gunpowder: British Foreign Aid In the Wars with France, 1793-1815, page 180,
      Coming at a time when Alexander was trying desperately to halt Napoleon's advance, the British response to his call for help appeared even more pinchbeck than it was.
    • 2006, Clive James, North Face of Soho, Picador 2007, p. 183:
      Anyway, at least I had created the pinchbeck crown in which Dai could place his jewel.