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.
The old French word pelfre means spoil.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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