AskDefine | Define pewter

Dictionary Definition

pewter n : any of various alloys of tin with small amounts of other metals (especially lead)

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. an alloy that is currently composed of approximately 93-98% tin, 1-2% copper, and the balance of antimony.
  2. Historical- an alloy of tin and lead.
  3. items made of pewter.
  4. a dark, dull grey colour, like that of the metal.
    pewter colour:   




  1. of a dark, dull grey colour, like that of the metal.



Derived terms

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Extensive Definition

Pewter is a metal alloy, traditionally between 85 and 99 percent tin, with the remainder consisting of copper and antimony, acting as hardeners, with the addition of lead for the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint. The word pewter is probably a variation of the word spelter.


Use of pewter was common from the Middle Ages up until the various developments in glass-making during the 18th and 19th centuries. Pewter was the chief tableware until the making of porcelain. Mass production of glass products has seen glass universally replace pewter in day-to-day life. Pewter artefacts continue to be produced, mainly as decorative or speciality items. Pewter was also used around East Asia. Roman pewter items are very rare, although some are still in existence.
Unlidded mugs and lidded tankards may be the most familiar pewter artifacts from the late 17th and 18th centuries, although the metal is also used for many other items including porringers, plates, dishes, basins, spoons, measures, flagons, communion cups, teapots, sugarbowls, beer steins and cream jugs. In the early 19th century, changes of fashion witnessed a decline in the use of pewter flatware, but increased production of both cast and spun pewter tea sets, whale-oil lamps, candlesticks, etc. Later in the century, pewter alloys were often used as a base metal for silver-plated objects.
Today, pewter is mainly used in decorative objects, namely collectible statuettes and figurines, replica coins, pendants, etc.
Contrary to urban legend, the use of lead-containing pewter tableware was unrelated to the mistrust of tomatoes as a foodstuff in Northern Europe during the 16th century .


See also

pewter in German: Hartzinn
pewter in Spanish: Pewter
pewter in Persian: مسوار
pewter in French: Alliage plomb-étain
pewter in Hebrew: פיוטר
pewter in Italian: Peltro
pewter in Dutch: Engeltjestin
pewter in Japanese: ピューター
pewter in Portuguese: Peltre

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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