Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Ringing the Changes.

 Ringing Changes.Ringing Island. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Ringing the Changes.
A method of swindling by changing gold and silver in payment of goods. For example: A man goes to a tavern and asks for two-pennyworth of whisky. He lays on the counter half a sovereign, and receives nine shillings and tenpence in change. “Oh!” (says the man) “give me the half-sovereign back, I have such a lot of change.” He then takes up ten shillings in silver and receives back the half-sovereign. The barmaid is about to take up the silver when the man says, “Give me a sovereign in lieu of this half-sovereign and ten shillingsworth of silver.” This is done, and, of course, the barmaid loses ten shillings by the transaction.   1

 Ringing Changes.Ringing Island. 


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