pin money vs allowance


Hi, everyone:

Could you tell me the difference between "pin money" and "allowance"?
How would you use them respectively?

More explanation:
I think "pin money" is "the money husband give to wife" and "allowance" is like "pocket money" for parents give to their children.
Am I correct?
Could "pin money" and "allowance"("pocket money")be used interchangeably?

Best wishes.
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Pin money is less common nowadays in AE; it sounds old-fashioned. It can mean the same as an allowance, but it can also mean a trivial or small amount of money.

    Can you provide further context or sample sentences?



    Now, it's during a week-long holiday in my country to celebrate the National Day. This week is often called "Golden Week".
    Children can receive ____from their parents to buy toys or anything they want that they couldn't afford usually.


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    You could use allowance. The problem is that "allowance" is most often used to refer to either money for expenses or, in the case of children especially, to a a sum of money given to the children on a regular basis.

    I, hesitantly, suggest "can receive a special allowance"; perhaps someone else has a better suggestion.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    In my world, "pin money" is the cash you carry around with you for small daily purchases. You might buy a pack of cigarettes or chewing gum or a newspaper with the cash you have on you. It was once also called "walking-around money" and that describes it perfectly.

    An "allowance" is something that parents give to children (or a spouse gives to the other spouse to run the household, for example). An allowance, however, is usually given on a regular basis. From your example, if the children are given "special" money for the Golden Week, it would be "pin money". They would have it in their pockets to spend on small gifts and toys as they like and would not have to constantly nag Mom and Dad to buy things for them.


    Senior Member
    What concerns me is this: What percentage of the population under, say, thirty-five years of age will be familiar with the term "pin money?"

    It's very possible that I am simply too ignorant, but no, I am not familiar with the term "pin money".

    Chidren can receive (extra) cash as a special treat from their parents............
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