Chump change

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Chump change is an American idiom that appeared in the mid-1900s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of the term chump change, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Chump change refers to a miniscule amount of money, an insignificant sum of money. The term chump change was coined in the African-American community in the mid-1960s, based on the alliteration of the words chump and change. Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of consecutive words. The word chump first appeared in the beginning of the 1700s as a combination of the words chunk and lump, or perhaps derived from the Old Norse word kumba which means block of wood. The word chump refers to a fool, a person who is easily taken advantage of or easily manipulated. Chump change came to describe an amount of money only a fool would think is sufficient, especially used in describing wages. However, it is often used to describe an amount of money that would seem large to the average person, but is in fact a miniscule amount to the person or organization being discussed. Chump change is the singular and also the plural form of the term.


Of course, considering how much money CBS and Turner are generating in ad sales already, $1.1 billion in 2025 and beyond may look like chump change. (The Business Insider)

The problem is, heading into 2017 and Butler’s fourth season, the maximum the Patriots had to pay him was $3.9 million, which is chump change. (The Salem News)

For whatever chump change it cost to produce, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers became the most-watched U.S. children’s show, seen in 150 countries. (The Owen Sound Sun-Times)

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