Definition of shinplaster in US English:



historical, informal
  • 1Australian US NZ A piece of paper currency or a promissory note regarded as having little or no value.

    • ‘So he set to work and issued a large amount of these little shinplasters, and at first redeemed them for a while until he had got some thousands of dollars issued.’
    • ‘It is ‘faith’ and ‘law,’ which give the shinplasters of today, purchasing power.’
    • ‘Once again Texans used bank notes from other states and shinplasters instead of the Texas money.’
    • ‘This promise was printed prominently on the face of shinplasters to inspire trust and acceptance.’
    • ‘The men when gambling rarely spread out the shinplasters thrown on to the table, and the dummy was accepted in play.’
    • ‘The bit of harbour shinplaster that Monrova had left over from his purchase was used to stock the galley with fruits and vegetables and cooking supplies and vodka.’
    cash, hard cash, ready money
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  • 2Canadian A twenty-five cent bill.

    • ‘‘The time has come for the penny to go the way of the shinplaster,’ the MP said.’
    • ‘You will hear of short snorters, the reason we had shinplasters, the note that started the collection, the $1 bills given by a grandmother every Christmas, and other exciting tales.’


So named because of the resemblance to a square piece of paper soaked in vinegar and used to bandage the shin.