Penny Pinching Idioms

Idioms and expressions that mean that some is careful with their money in many languages.

Language Idiom
Chinese (Mandarin 一毛不拔 (yīmáobùbá)
to not pull out one hair
小气 [小氣] (xiǎoqì)
small spirit
English to be stingy
to be tight(fisted)
to be closefisted
to be cheeseparing
to be a cheapskate
to be a skinflint
to be a tightwad
to have deep pockets and short arms
as tight as a gnat's chuff
as tight as a duck's arse
he has glue in his pockets
he'd peel an orange in his pocket
he's so tight he thinks he owes himself money
French être avare
to be miserly
être radin
to be tight/mean
être pince
to be a clamp
être grippe-sous
to be a penny-pincher
les lâcher avec un élastique
to let go with a rubber band
ne pas attacher son chien avec des saucisses
to not tie up one's dog with sausages
être près de ses sous
to be close with one's sous
se serrer la ceinture
to tighten one's belt
avoir des oursins dans le porte-monnaie
to have sea urchins in your wallet/purse
avoir des oursins dans les poches
to have sea urchins in your pocket
German jeden Pfennig/Cent/Euro zweimal umdrehen
to turn over every penny/cent/Euro twice
jeden Groschen dreimal umdrehen
to turn over every groschen (10-pfennig piece) three times
jede Mark dreimal umdrehen
to turn over every Mark three times
Italian avere il braccino corto
to have short arms
Japanese 握り手 (nigirite)
grasping hand
守銭奴 (shusendo)
guard money fellow
渋ちん / シブチン (shibuchan)
reluctant little one
Malay tangkai jering
jering stalk - jering is a kind of plant
Polish liczyć się z każdym groszem
to reckon with every penny
mieć węża w kieszeni
to have a snake in one's pocket
Spanish ser un rata
to be a rat
ser un perro que mordía y no soltar
to be a dog that bites and doesn't let go
Swedish vända på varje öre
to turn over every öre
vända på varje korvöre
to turn over every sausage
Welsh mae e'n cadw draenog yn ei boced
he keeps a hedgehog in his pocket


Some idioms provided by Maciej Kaniewski, Micheál De Róiste and Daniel Krauße

I wrote a song inspired by the Welsh hedgehog idiom called Pocket Hedgehogs.

books   Books of idioms, proverbs and sayings in many languages

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

More idioms

It's all Greek to me | It's raining cats and dogs | As easy as falling off a log | A sandwich short of a picnic | It's small world | When pigs fly | Out of sight, out of mind | Crystal-clear | Penny Pinching | Practice makes perfect | The grass is always greener | As Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Idioms in individual languages

Czech | French | Greek | Icelandic | Lithuanian | Manx | Russian | Slovak | Spanish | Swedish | Welsh

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