clipping the <gats> off


I read the following sentence in a book: "He was boldly clipping the gats off counterfeit half crowns and filing the edges smooth with a tiny, triangular iron."

I checked every dictionary but i couldn't find what "gat" means in this sentence.

There is also one more sentence in the book with word "gat" that may help: "Idly he snipped a gat with a scissors, rubbing the slick coin with his fingers." (Pretty much the same context.)
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Tufts Digital Library contains a section on counterfeiting coins in 19th century London. Counterfeit coins were made by pouring liquid metal into a mould
    When you have your coin cast, there is a "gat," or piece of refuse [waste] metal, [that] sticks to it. You pair [cut] this off with a pair of scissors or a knife—generally a pair of scissors—then you file the edges of the coin to perfect the "knerling."
    [...] = my gloss.

    The word "knerling" is now spelled knurling (pron: /ˈnɜːlɪŋ/) and is the around the edge of a coin (or anything else made of hard material) see
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Interesting Paul Q that the dictionary there seemed to misuse the word "pair" instead of "pare" as the verb of the second sentence. Perhaps that was a mistake or perhaps the spelling was different in the 19th century.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The OED gives the spelling "pair" as "pre-17[th] 18[th century] pair". So I'm not sure how "pair" came to be there. (Perhaps the author had learned to spell in the 18th century. :D)