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n. Slang
A petty braggart who pretends to be rich and important.

[From the horn-shaped metal can used by chuck-a-luck operators for shaking the dice.]

tin′horn′ adj.


a cheap pretentious person, esp a gambler with extravagant claims
cheap and showy


Slang. n.
1. someone, esp. a gambler, who pretends to be important.
2. insignificant; small-time: a tinhorn dictator.
[1880–85, Amer.]
References in periodicals archive ?
The placement of these two Midwestern tinhorns, and the Levi brothers, too, amidst a high-priced fix purportedly underwritten by New York City underworld kingpin Arnold Rothstein made little sense and only served to complicate the scenario proposed by prosecutors to the jury.
Make no mistake, if the Constitution is opened up to the tinkering of these tinhorns, the moneyed interests will be present and their irresistible influence will shape the product of the Article V process.
As usual, a large company has been assembled, notably in the opening number Fugue for Tinhorns in which the stage is filled with Runyonesque characters striding on and off, almost bumping into each other as they fill the street set.
I can recall Benny The Blond Jew and also Benny South Street as one of the gamblers who sing Fugue For Tinhorns in the opening sequence of the musical Guys And Dolls, but I don't recall Benny the Dip,' he says.
Also finding favor with the public are songs such as "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat," "Fugue for Tinhorns," "I'll Know," "Adelaide's Lament," "I've Never Been In Love Before," "More I Cannot Wish You" and "Luck Be a Lady.
Depradations of tinhorns like the Marcoses are lamentable, but Ferdinand's squirreled-away millions and all of Imelda's shoes together add up to just a few days' honest (or legal) take for major politicians in the wealthier, First-World countries.
Butch Cassidy could only have dreamed of covering the rough miles through the Paria with a bunch of tinhorns enjoying filet mignon, butterfly shrimp and hot showers.