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[hey-puh-nee, heyp-nee] /ˈheɪ pə ni, ˈheɪp ni/
noun, plural halfpennies for 1; halfpence
[hey-puh ns] /ˈheɪ pəns/ (Show IPA),
for 2.
a bronze coin of the United Kingdom, equal to half a penny: use phased out in 1984.
the sum of half a penny.
of the price or value of a halfpenny.
of little value; worthless:
a halfpenny matter.
British Informal. (of newspapers) sensational, especially morbidly or offensively so.
Origin of halfpenny
First recorded in 1225-75, halfpenny is from the Middle English word halfpeny, halpeny. See half, penny Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for halfpenny
Historical Examples
  • Mr Adams was found to have no more than one halfpenny about him.

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1 Henry Fielding
  • Now, she no longer gave a halfpenny; she worked off the amount solely by the washing.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Of course, a halfpenny a night sounds nothing, but think of a shilling a month!

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • Ninepence was the sum he had to take home every night, and there was not a halfpenny to spare.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Your Holiness must not accept for truth all that is printed in the halfpenny papers.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • He had not gone twenty yards when he found a halfpenny lying on the grass.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • The dulseman had perhaps a halfpenny from him in the fortnight.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie
  • After "astonishing the natives" with various tricks, he asked the loan of a halfpenny.

    The Jest Book Mark Lemon
  • Yet not to be beaten, Arkwright altered his sign to "A clean shave for a halfpenny."

    An Australian Lassie Lilian Turner
  • Brother Merry gave him a third quarter of the loaf, and the third halfpenny.

British Dictionary definitions for halfpenny


/ˈheɪpnɪ; for sense 1 ˈhɑːfˌpɛnɪ/
Also called half, (pl) -pennies. a small British coin worth half a new penny, withdrawn from circulation in 1985
(pl) -pennies. an old British coin worth half an old penny
(pl) -pence. the sum represented by half a penny
(pl) -pence. something of negligible value
(modifier) having the value or price of a halfpenny
(modifier) of negligible value
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
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Word Origin and History for halfpenny

mid-13c. (though implied in Old English healfpenigwurð "halfpenny-worth"); see half + penny.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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