Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Pelf.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Filthy pelf. Money. The word was anciently used for refuse or rubbish. “Who steals my purse steals trash.” Filthy means ungodly; the Scripture expression is “unrighteous mammon.” It is certainly not connected with pilfer, as it is usually given; but it may possibly be with the Anglo-Saxon pila, a pile or heap.   1
   The old French word pelfre means spoil.   2



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