from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A piece of paper money issued privately and devalued by inadequate security or by inflation.
- n. A piece of paper money of small denomination issued by the government, especially one issued by the U.S. government from 1862 to 1878.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Formerly, a jocose term for a bank note greatly depreciated in value; also, for paper money of a denomination less than a dollar.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small square patch of brown paper, usually saturated with vinegar, tar, tobacco-juice, or the like, applied by poor people to sores on the leg.
- n. Hence, humorously
- n. A small paper note used as money; a printed promise to pay a small sum issued as money without legal security.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. paper money of little value issued on insufficient security
By reason of this traffic more or less currency of the "shinplaster" kind was in circulation, besides some of the prisoners had money concealed on their persons when captured or had friends on the outside who managed to give them some.
So before you start hoarding your one-cent pieces, consider the plight of the last piece of widely used currency to be retired, the "shinplaster," a 25-cent note introduced in 1870 to help overcome a temporary shortage in silver coins.
And the problem had nothing to do with any of the myriad of shinplaster grotesqueries we have come to expect from the Department of Homeland Security.
Marse Adam pull out a big flat black pocket-book and gived me a shinplaster, and say: 'Jesse, ever time your basket h'ist de beam of de steelyards to 100, you gits a shinplaster.'
Today the postage stamp province has become the shinplaster province, almost dollar bill in her new size.
It's healthy and it's moral, and it's goin 'to make Omyha look like a shinplaster.
Here is the hard face of Big Business scowling at its desk; and here the glittering Heroine of the hour in her dress of shimmering sequins, making such tepid creatures as Madeline and Kate look like the small change out of a twenty-five cent shinplaster.
Resolved, that the committee on banks enquire into the expediency of authorizing the state to issue one million of dollars small treasury notes, to take the place of shinplaster currency no flooding the country.
Practising law, like shinplaster banking or a fight, was pretty much a free thing; but the statute required a certain formula to be gone through, which was an examination of the candidate by the Court, or under its direction.