Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition


(an old local form of "Birmingham"), a name first applied to a counterfeit coin made in the city of Birmingham, England, in the I7th century, and later to the plated and imitation articles made there; hence cheap, showy or tawdry. The name was particularly used of the supporters of the Exclusion Bill in 1680, with the meaning of "sham Protestant." Similarly the Tory opponents of the Bill were nicknamed "Anti-Birminghams" or "Brummagems."