One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A coin of low value.
- ‘In any given year only some contracts are up for renewal come the end of May, and a minority of players may resist moving on to an incentive-based pay plan while colleagues continue to earn their bawbees just for showing face.’
- ‘Gaolers were amateurs and for a few bawbees you could escape.’
- ‘I supported the party loyally for 35 years, often representing it in elections and, even more often, giving it my bawbees, both at local and national level.’
- ‘In trying to squeeze every last bawbee out of the situation he has created, Scott is behaving exactly as he did when he ran the club.’
- ‘It believes the bawbees can be put to better use.’
- 1.1 A former silver coin worth three (later six) Scottish pennies.
- ‘So, beating down Bell from his upset price of fourpence to six bawbees, I pushed the treasure carelessly in my pocket, and never stopped till I was in a lonely place by Tyne-side and secure from observation.’
- ‘I'll wager a silver bawbee that my horse can outrun yours to the MacBaron borders.’
Mid 16th century: from the name of the laird of Sille bawby, mint master under James V.
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