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slang A driver who speeds through an intersection just before the traffic light is about to turn red. The middle (yellow) traffic signal is often referred to as being the color amber. Primarily heard in UK. If you keep being a reckless ambler gambler, you're going to get into a car accident soon enough!
A cheap, small-stakes gambler who boasts and dresses ostentatiously to seem more successful or skilled than they really are. An allusion to the dice game "chuck-a-luck," which features a chute, called a "horn," from which the dice are dispensed. More high-class leather horns were often substituted with makeshift tin ones, and thus cheaper, lower-stakes gamblers were known for their tin horns. He always wears the same three-piece suit and slicks his hair back like he's the Great Gatsby when he comes in to play, but everyone knows he's just a tinhorn gambler who taps out after losing a couple hundred bucks.
See also: gambler
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
An unsuccessful player. In the dice game of chuck-a-luck, backroom players tossed the dice not with their hand but out of a small metal handheld cage called the “horn” (more upscale games used leather horns). Hence, the “tin horn” noun that became the “tinhorn” adjective when applied to nickel-dime gamblers. “Tinhorn” sounds as though it might also refer to a musical instrument, and composer Frank Loesser took advantage of that sound-alike association with “Fugue for Tinhorns” in his musical Guys & Dolls.
See also: gambler
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price