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Ringing the Changes


A method of swindling by changing gold and silver in payment of goods. For example: A man goes to a tavern and asks for two-pennyworth of whisky. He lays on the counter half a sovereign, and receives nine shillings and tenpence in change. “Oh!” (says the man) “give me the half-sovereign back, I have such a lot of change.” He then takes up ten shillings in silver and receives back the half-sovereign. The barmaid is about to take up the silver when the man says, “Give me a sovereign in lieu of this half-sovereign and ten shillingsworth of silver.” This is done, and, of course, the barmaid loses ten shillings by the transaction.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Ring Down
Ring Finger
Ring Posies
Ring a Ding-ding
Ring in the Ear
Ring of Invisibility (The)
Ring One’s Own Bell (To)
Rings Noted in Fable
Ringing Changes
Ringing the Changes
Ringing Island
Rip (A)
Rip Van Winkle
Riphean or Rhiphæan Rocks
Riquet with a Tuft