Bad money drives out good


      • value and worth
        Refers to the idea that when counterfeit or inferior currency is introduced into circulation, it devalues the genuine and high-quality currency, leading to it being hoarded or removed from circulation altogether. This can also be used as a metaphor for other situations where something of lesser quality or value replaces something of higher quality or value, causing it to lose its worth or desirability.

      • behavior and actions
        Can also refer to the concept that negative or corrupt behavior or actions can "drive out" or overshadow positive or righteous behavior or actions, causing them to become less prevalent or influential in a society or community. This can also be interpreted as a warning against engaging in unethical or immoral behavior, as it may lead to the decline of moral standards and values.

    Examples of Bad money drives out good

    • When the arcade started accepting worn-out tokens alongside new ones, it wasn't long before bad money drove out good, and all I saw were the shabby coins.

      The lower-quality tokens, less costly to obtain, became more common as people spent them instead of the newer ones, preserving the latter.

    • The new counterfeit bills were so convincing that, in no time, bad money drove out good, and the fakes circulated everywhere.

      People started using the fake bills widely, causing the authentic currency to become less visible in circulation.

    • It's a classic case of bad money driving out good; collectors hoard the pristine comic books while the damaged ones overload the market.

      Collectible items in prime condition are saved by collectors, leading to a surplus of lower-quality items being available for sale.

    • In the diamond trade, as synthetic stones flood the market, we witness bad money driving out good, diminishing the value of natural gems.

      The influx of cheaper synthetic diamonds causes them to be used more frequently, overshadowing the natural diamonds.

    • Her engaging gossip was like bad money driving out good, as it rapidly spread and replaced any meaningful conversation at the party.

      Trivial and sensational gossip was preferred over substantial discussions, pushing the latter out of social exchanges.

    • Due to inflation, currency devaluation saw bad money driving out good, with residents quick to spend the weak currency and hoard foreign cash.

      Residents opt to use the depreciated local money for transactions, conserving stronger foreign currency due to its retaining value.

    • In a twist of bad money driving out good, vintage furnishings became coveted, outshining the expensive, modern pieces.

      The less costly, vintage items became more popular than newer furnishings, which were previously seen as more valuable.

    • Fueled by the rise of digital downloads, physical album sales plummeted—a tech-savvy case of bad money driving out good.

      Digital music, often cheaper and more accessible, displaced physical albums in the consumer market.


    The idiom "bad money drives out good" can be used in various contexts, alluding to the devaluation or replacement of something of higher quality or value by something of lesser quality or value. It can refer to both physical currency and intangible concepts such as behavior and morals.

    Origin of "Bad money drives out good"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was first recorded in English writer Thomas Gresham's "The Coming of the Lord" in 1558. Gresham, an economic advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, used the phrase to describe the phenomenon of counterfeit coins being introduced into circulation and driving out the genuine ones.

    However, the concept behind the idiom can be traced back even further to ancient Greece, where the philosopher Aristotle discussed the effects of debasing currency in his work "Politics." He noted that when rulers devalue their currency by reducing the amount of precious metals in coins, it leads to the decline of their value and the hoarding of the older, more pure coins.

    Today, the idiom is still widely used in economic and societal contexts, serving as a warning against the negative impact of counterfeit or inferior products or behavior. It also highlights the importance of maintaining quality and integrity in all aspects of life.