What Does Chump Change Mean?

Chump Change Meaning

Definition: A small amount of money.

People use this expression to emphasize how unimportant and meager an amount of money is.

Origin of Chump Change

This expression originated around the 1960s. Most likely this expression developed from the meaning of chump, which is fool, and the meaning of change, which is a type of money (usually a small amount).

Examples of Chump Change

define chump changeIn the following example, a woman uses the expression to try to convince her friend not to worry about paying her back.

Kerry: Hey! I just wanted to thank you again for letting me borrow that money. I promise I’ll pay you back.

Christine: Honestly, don’t worry about! It was such a small amount.

Kerry: It might be a small amount to you, but I still want to pay you back.

Christine: I promise, it’s not necessary. It’s chump change.

Kerry: I insist. I’ll pay you back as soon as I get paid next week.

chunk change or chump changeIn this dialogue, a woman uses the expression while at a restaurant with a friend.

Arlena: I wonder what is taking the waitress so long.

Nyima: Maybe there was a problem with one of our credit cards.

Arlena: Oh, look. She’s coming back now.

Waitress: I’m so sorry, but it seems like you wrote the wrong total on the receipt. Your total was $21.52, but you only wrote $20.

Arlena: So what? I don’t see the problem.

Waitress: I just need you to add a little extra to make sure you fully pay for the meal you ate.

Arlena: It’s chump change. You should just pay it yourself to ensure customer satisfaction.

Nyima: If it’s chump change then you should just pay it.

Arlena: You’re right. I don’t know why I was being so rude. I’m sorry.

More Examples

This excerpt describes different amounts of money given to schools.

  • Caputo-Pearl referred to the grants, which would range from $50,000 to $250,000, as “chump change” compared to the millions given to charters by Broad and the foundation overseen by the Walton family, which started Wal-Mart. –LA Times

This excerpt is about the audience at the Golden Globes.

  • Organizers added more security as well as bleachers along the red carpet where fans could sit and celeb-watch for $100 a pop – chump change compared with the pricey package deals they offer now. –LA Times


The phrase chump change is slang for a pittance.