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[pi-kyoo-nee-er-ee] /pɪˈkyu niˌɛr i/
of or relating to money:
pecuniary difficulties.
consisting of or given or exacted in money or monetary payments:
pecuniary tributes.
(of a crime, violation, etc.) involving a money penalty or fine.
Origin of pecuniary
1495-1505; < Latin pecūniārius, derivative of pecūnia property, money (pecūn-, derivative of pecū flock (see peculiar), with -ūn- as in tribūna tribune1, fortūna fortune, etc. + -ia -ia); see -ary
Related forms
[pi-kyoo-nee-air-i-lee] /pɪˌkyu niˈɛər ɪ li/ (Show IPA),
nonpecuniary, adjective
1, 2. See financial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pecuniary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It must also be stated that Coleridge did not neglect his wife in the pecuniary sense.

    Biographia Epistolaris Volume 2 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • I assure you, my dear Sir, that you truly hurt me with your pecuniary parcel.

  • He says that when people get into 'pecuniary difficulties,' his 'sympathies always go with the butchers and bakers.'

  • I suppose you know his pecuniary condition perfectly; has he money?

    Dr. Sevier George W. Cable
  • While his client's pecuniary affairs were still unsettled, the lawyer had his claim to be taken into her confidence.

    The Evil Genius Wilkie Collins
  • The cost no more entered into his calculations in a personal than a pecuniary sense.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Unfortunately, his latter days were clouded by pecuniary distress.

  • With them the mercenary and the pecuniary are ever distinct from the religious.

    Patchwork Anna Balmer Myers
British Dictionary definitions for pecuniary


consisting of or relating to money
(law) (of an offence) involving a monetary penalty
Derived Forms
pecuniarily, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin pecūniāris, from pecūnia money
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pecuniary

c.1500, from Latin pecuniarius "pertaining to money," from pecunia "money, property, wealth," from pecu "cattle, flock," from PIE root *peku- "wealth, movable property, livestock" (cf. Sanskrit pasu- "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune," Old English feoh "cattle, money").

Livestock was the measure of wealth in the ancient world. For a possible parallel sense development in Old English, see fee, and cf., evolving in the other direction, cattle. Cf. also Welsh tlws "jewel," cognate with Irish tlus "cattle," connected via notion of "valuable thing."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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