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Skinflint is an idiom that has been in use since the 1600s. We will examine the meaning of the common saying skinflint, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A skinflint is a miser, someone who is overly cautious with his money, someone who is stingy and selfish. The idiom skinflint is a closed compound word, which is a word composed of two separate words joined together without a space or hyphen. The expression skinflint dates back to the 1600s; the image is of someone who is so miserly, he will skin off a bit of flint to sell. Flint is a plentiful substance and the amount of money one would gain from such an endeavor would not be worth the trouble. A similar idiom that was popular in the 1700s is he would skin a louse (or a flea) for the tallow. The plural form of skinflint is skinflints.


An all-time Christmas staple is the 1951 movie “A Christmas Carol,” starring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, skinflint extraordinaire. (Daily Astorian)

Let’s help you do that, with a skinflint’s guide to saving money by cutting the cord. (USA Today)

I admit to frequently saying ‘no extra cost’ which I suppose makes me a bit of a skinflint but seriously, when one can do something for nothing then why spend money. (Majorca Daily Bulletin)

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