This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. See our privacy statement
World Wide Words logo

Panhandle

Q From Bill Lubar: I’m seeking the origin of the verb to panhandle

A It is variously said to come from the habit of beggars of soliciting contributions by thrusting out tin pans, into which generous passers-by would place their coins; or perhaps it’s from the Spanish pan, literally meaning “bread” but which could also mean “money” (much as our word bread can in modern English), or possibly from the idea of some hopeful supplicant panning for gold.

Page created 21 Nov. 1998

Support World Wide Words.

Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.


Buy anything from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you.

Buy from Amazon UK Buy from Amazon USA

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved. See the copyright page for notes about linking to and reusing this page. For help in viewing the site, see the technical FAQ. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pan1.htm
Last modified: 21 November 1998.