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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.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 21 Nov. 1998

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Last modified: 21 November 1998.