“Bless you, sir, if any one is about he will be, for he is always the first stirring. But here he is, sir, to answer your questions for himself. No, sir, no; it is as much as my place is worth to let him see me touch your money. Afterwards, if you like.”


I guess "it is as much as my place is worth to let him see me touch your money" can be paraphrased as "to let him see me touch your money means to get fired" ?

Is "as much as place is worth" is a modern and common expression?

  • 5
    The modern version is "It's more than my job's worth". Please note that you should give the source of literary quotations, as it may help people to answer if they know the context. Nov 17, 2021 at 17:10
  • The missing detail is the definition of place given here as 9a: "remunerative employment : JOB." You also find "position," perhaps more commonly, used the same way. Nov 17, 2021 at 19:02
  • Quote is from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of Silver Blaze.
    – dclxvispqr
    Sep 14, 2022 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


It is as much as my place is worth [to do something] is dated / literary / poetic phrasing that would more often be expressed today as It's more than my job's worth [to do that].

As OP has correctly understood, both these expressions mean more or less My job security is so low that if I don't follow procedures exactly, I'm likely to be sacked.

But it's also worth noting the idiomatic noun usage derived from this, which doesn't always have quite the same implications...

a person who uses the (typically minor) authority of their job in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner. It characterizes one who upholds petty rules even at the expense of effectiveness or efficiency.

To my mind, a "jobsworth" is just a slightly less tiresome / officious version of a "little hitler". But I'm sure OP's cited speaker isn't being characterised as either of those. He's just a lowly underling who really is worried he'd lose his job if he was seen accepting payment from the addressee.


The speaker is refusing a tip from someone who is a guest or visitor in the house where he (the speaker) works. Requiring employees to refuse tips from guests seems reasonable, rather than rigid adherence to arbitrary rules.

However, he’s willing to accept the money if his employer isn’t around.

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