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farthing

[fahr-th ing]
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noun
  1. a former bronze coin of Great Britain, equal to one-fourth of a British penny: withdrawn in 1961.
  2. something of very small value: I don't care a farthing for your opinion.

Origin of farthing

before 950; Middle English ferthing, Old English fēorthing. See fourth, -ing3
Related formshalf-far·thing, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for farthing

farthing

noun
  1. a former British bronze coin, worth a quarter of an old penny, that ceased to be legal tender in 1961
  2. something of negligible value; jot

Word Origin

Old English fēorthing from fēortha fourth + -ing 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for farthing

n.

Old English feorðung "quarter of a penny," a diminutive derivative of feorða "fourth" (from feower "four") + -ing "fractional part." Cognate with Old Frisian fiardeng, Middle Low German verdink, Old Norse fjordhungr.

Used in biblical translation of Latin quadrans "quarter of a denarius;" the English coin (of silver until 17c., later of copper or bronze), first was minted under Edward I and abolished 1961.

I shall geat a fart of a dead man as soone As a farthyng of him. [Heywood, "Proverbs," 1562]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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