Green’s Dictionary of Slang

skinflint n.

also flint
[obs. SE phr. skin a flint, to be very mean or greedy]

1. a mean person; occas. as v. see cite 1851; also attrib.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Skinflint a griping, sharping, close-fisted fellow.
[UK]S. Centlivre Bold Stroke for a Wife IV i: Gabriel Skinflint has been at the Minister’s.
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 112: I take you to be no more than a Flash, and Mrs. Skin-flint, my Neighbour, shall PUN with you for a Pistole, if I do not lose my Aim.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 47: If my advice had been taken, that old skin-flint should have been damn’d before he had got more than the third of his demand.
[UK]Memoirs of [...] Jane D****s 62: Old Jane was such a skinflint, if I may be allowed the expression.
[Ire]K. O’Hara Two Misers I i: So! here comes t’other skinflint, Gripe himself.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]M. Edgeworth Castle Rackrent (1832) 43: She was [...] very liberal in her housekeeping, nothing at all of the skin-flint in her.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK] ‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 158: Skin-flint — one who would perform that operation, were it possible.
[UK]Cumberland Pacquet 12 Dec. 4/5: A skin-flint [...] She buys me the worst o’ meat [...] Tough, stinking tripe and cows’ feet.
[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! I 46: What a cursed old skinflint!
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 296: It’s only this barn that is kept up at all, because it’s convaynient for owld Skinflint on the farm.
[UK]Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1995) 299: Your own flesh and blood might come to want too, might they, for anything you cared? Oh you precious old flint!
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms.
[UK]Sam Sly 14 Apr. 2/1: [O]ld Skinflint, of the cat’s-meat shop, would not part with five pounds, much less hundreds.
[UK]Taunton Courier 17 Jan. 8/2: I [was] forced to give what that old flint of a Down Easter chose to ask.
[US]F.M. Whitcher Widow Bedott Papers (1883) 34: He said, that of all born skin-flints ’t ever he had to do with, Tim Crane was the biggest.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 29 Dec. 3/1: No thanks to the Guardians of this Union — the shkinflints — that wouldn’t give us a betther dinner.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 190: What a screw-drivin’, skinflintin’, usorious appearance everything has in this house; one could almost fancy the walls and crannnies filled with coin.
[Ind]Hills & Plains I 179: ‘I have no confidence in Charlotte, or her skin-flint husband’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 31/1: That miserly skin-flint, Bob Coombs.
[Aus]M. Clarke Term of His Natural Life (1897) 395: As villainous an old scoundrel and skinflint as ever poisoned a seaman.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 8 Jan. 6/2: tales of a skinflint ‘The very tightest, clostest, farseeing, calculating Skinflint ever seen was old Klamskatter’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Jan. 3/4: A very skinflint chap [...] who travels for a New York house, fell in with a married woman.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) II 330: The mistress [...] told them to put the fire out. When she had gone, ‘The old skinflint,’ said one servant.
[NZ]Wanganui Chronicle (NZ) 23 Sept. 2: Had the Opposition chosen to go with the ‘Skinflints’ [...] not a single vote would have passed.
[UK]F.W. Hume Hagar of the Pawn-Shop 11: These won’t cost you much, and I ask for nothing more—Skinflint.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 May 1/1: He is now dreading his skinflint auditing the petty cash box.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 95: Some of them old skinflints has no heart.
[UK]Marvel 12 June 2: Mean, old thieving skinflint, he is.
[US]D. Hammett ‘They Can Only Hang You Once’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 325: His uncle Timothy, a miserly old skinflint, lousy with money.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 55: After some spirited notes on Edgar’s ancestors as Yankee skinflints.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 249: I shouldn’t expect too much from Tommy when I thought of the various skinflints he had been working for.
[UK]R. Rendell Best Man To Die (1981) 110: If you’re going to employ an assassin and you’re a mean skinflint you pick the lowest of the low to do your dirty work.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 97: Critics were skinflints and browsers; they praised me with their hands in their pockets; they didn’t buy.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 44: You poor old skinflint, you. You must want something big, you’re buying lunch.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 28: Whassis, Turnbull! Bloody skinflint!
[UK]Indep. Rev. 9 May 4: She may have been branded a ‘skinflint’.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] Jimmy, the legendary skinflint who owned the club, was still too cheap [...] to buy a CD player.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 133: Twig lank-jaws, the miser, that skin-flint old elf.
[UK]Derby Mercury 30 Sept. 1/2: A rich old hunks is he [...] Great Paragon of skin-flint laws.
[US]M.L. Weems Drunkard’s Looking Glass (1929) 121: They will [...] scrape and save in the ‘true skin-flint stile’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 30 Sept. 1/1: A well-off Busselton greengrocer economises on the skinflint system [...] after serving customers he goes around and collects the empty paper-bags.
[UK]Gem 16 Mar. 4: He’s a skinflint sort of old chap.
Albuquerque Jrnl (NM) 14 Aug. n.p.: Cantzeen was a miser who [...] lived a hand-to-mouth skinflint existence.
[US]Star Press (Muncie, IN) 5 July 33/1: [headline] Skinflint existence ‘a way of life, recession or not’.

In derivatives

skinflintism (n.)

(extreme) mean-ness.

[UK]Sportsman 6 Feb. 2/1: Notes on News [...] The reckless extravagance of youth generally subsides into skin-flintism in maturer age.