coin a phrase


coin a phrase


  • as one might say
  • to create or invent a new phrase, saying etc.
  • something said before using a popular expression or before saying some variation of an expression
  • to ‘ironically’ express some phrase
  • to repeat and expression, quotation, etc.

Example Sentences

  1. She was, to coin a phrase, as clever as fox.
  2. Sportsmen, to coin a phrase, have become spiteful competitors
  3. Nowadays our media is nothing more than, to coin a phrase, misrepresentation of actual facts.
  4. To hike and camp in the peaceful wilderness is, to coin a phrase, equivalent to getting reborn.
  5. Corrupt politicians through public displays of concern and generosity try to prove that they are, to coin a phrase, pious and innocent.
  6. Oh you know, he is always happy as a lark, to coin a phrase.


The roots of this phrase date back to the early 14th century where dies where used to make coins by stamping it on sheet metal in a process popularly known as ‘minting’. These dies were called coins and therefore ‘coining’ gradually got associated with ‘invention’.

Although variations of the phrase can be seen in literature of George Puttenham (1589) and W. Shakespeare (1607), the exact usage of the phrase (as we know it today) seems to have originated in American Literature with the earliest recorded use being in the ‘The Southport American’ newspaper in 1848.

Share your opinions8 Opinions

I thought Coin a phrase was in fact from the printers Quoin a phrase where type was set and and locked into a chase with quoin keys

‒ John RICHARDSON June 6, 2023

Coining a phrase means counterfeiting the phrase which has already been produced. (Coining originally meant counterfeiting.)

‒ Mr C T McVey May 15, 2022

On the 9/11 plane crash in PA they keep saying “he” coined (quoined) a phrase as if he made it up on the spot and its been something that black people have been saying since at least the 70s. I think the correct statement would be “he repeated the phrase.” No disrespect to the courageous people who lost their lives that day.

‒ P. September 11, 2021

I think it comes from printing. A letterpress coin (although it is spelled quoin) is a wedge thingy that holds the letters in place on a printing press. So to quoin a phrase would be to set a phrase or sentence into print.

‒ Glenn February 15, 2021

It should be “to quote a phrase.”

Over the years “to coin a phrase” became a substitute for “to quote a phrase.” As per the explanation here when you “coin” something you’re making it brand new, as they did when they stamped the metal into a new coin.

To quote a phrase is the correct term I believe.

‒ Rico January 28, 2021

To me it sounds like stamping a phrase on a coin, “in god we trust” per-say, it then became well known.

‒ Jay November 30, 2020

The association with invention is the ironic part I believe.

‒ Hadley July 14, 2020

To ” coin a phrase ” the explanation does not make it for me. I understand when they use the word minting or stamping. Did they stamp each coin with a different phrase? That would make sense. To use the word invention , in my mind is not a phrase.

‒ Bernardine Kennedy May 18, 2020

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