One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonourable way.‘damnation dog thee and thy wretched pelf!’
cash, hard cash, ready moneyView synonyms
- ‘No doubt the allure of office had something to do with it: the old corruption of rotten and pocket boroughs yielded to a new corruption of pelf and place.’
- ‘Politics is now merely a game of power, pelf and perks.’
- ‘Overweight and obesity are chronic problems affecting everyone without discrimination of gender or pelf.’
- ‘With odds so heavily arrayed against the under-privileged and the ordinary, there are still voices somehow making themselves heard across the walls of silence that vested interest has been trying to erect with its power and pelf.’
- ‘Does anyone have any doubt how effective these powerful people have been in controlling all levers of powers, pelf and privilege?’
Late Middle English (in the sense ‘booty, pilfered property’): from a variant of Old French pelfre ‘spoils’, of unknown origin. Compare with pilfer.
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