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[pyoo-ter] /ˈpyu tər/
any of various alloys in which tin is the chief constituent, originally one of tin and lead.
a container or utensil made of such an alloy.
such utensils collectively:
a revival of interest in pewter.
British Slang.
  1. a cup awarded as a prize or trophy, as in a sporting event.
  2. prize money (def 2).
consisting or made of pewter:
a pewter mug.
Origin of pewter
1325-75; Middle English pewtre < Middle French peutre < Vulgar Latin *piltrum; perhaps akin to spelter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pewter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here an appetizing supper had been laid ready upon the table and a couple of tallow candles burned in pewter sconces.

    The Laughing Cavalier Baroness Orczy
  • Most of these were made of pewter or lead, but some have been found of silver gilt, latten, and tin.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • pewter had been run around the upper part of them, so that "sinkers" were not required.

  • Mind as you're not ower keen at seein' the ins and oots o' that pewter.

    A Son of Hagar Sir Hall Caine
  • A pair of spurs, of make modern enough, hung between two pewter dish-covers.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • The women were at work melting their pewter porringers into bullets.

  • Over a fire of broken boxes and barrels, lighted with sparks from the flint, was cooked a rude meal to be served in pewter dishes.

    The Loyalist James Francis Barrett
  • Sheets and table-cloths were of flax or hemp; dishes were of brass or pewter.

    William Shakespeare Samuel Levy Bensusan
  • The table in the center was laid with a snowy white cloth, on it the pewter candlesticks shone like antique silver.

British Dictionary definitions for pewter


  1. any of various alloys containing tin (80–90 per cent), lead (10–20 per cent), and sometimes small amounts of other metals, such as copper and antimony
  2. (as modifier): pewter ware, a pewter tankard
  1. a bluish-grey colour
  2. (as adjective): pewter tights
plate or kitchen utensils made from pewter
Derived Forms
pewterer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French peaultre, of obscure origin; related to Old Provençal peltre pewter
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 pewter

early 14c., "any of various alloys having tin as their main constituent" (the usual form is one part lead to four parts tin), from Old French peautre (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *peltrum "pewter" (source of Spanish peltre, Italian peltro), of uncertain origin. Related: Pewterer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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