lose a shilling and find sixpence


Senior Member
Here are some words from Lady Chatterley's Lover:
"Whereas the men, in gratitude to the woman for the sex experience, let their souls go out to her. And afterwards looked rather as if they had lost a shilling and found sixpence. Connie's man could be a bit sulky, and Hilda's a bit jeering. "

I just want to know if "lose a shilling and find sixpence" is a set phrase( or idiomatice) or just figurative.
Thank you in advance.
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    The meaning of this has been discussed in an earlier post - initially incorrectly, so I am quoting the final post on that thread:

    It's a six-year old thread, but I don't think it's been answered properly.

    To lose a shilling and find sixpence basically means to lose something of a certain value only to gain something of lesser value as a mild consolation. So you could expect somebody described as looking like "they lost a shilling and found a sixpence" to appear to be a little bit grumpy/morose, but not furious/devastated.
    I think it is a set phrase.​



    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, it's a set phrase. In old British (also Australian and Irish) money there were 20 shillings (written 20s or 20/-) to £1, and there were 12 pence (written 12d) to a shilling. You will note that a shilling is worth two sixpences.
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