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[siks-puh ns] /ˈsɪks pəns/
noun, plural sixpence, sixpences for 2.
(used with a singular or plural verb) British. a sum of six pennies.
(used with a singular verb) a cupronickel coin of the United Kingdom, the half of a shilling, formerly equal to six pennies: equal to two and one-half new pence after decimalization in 1971.
Origin of sixpence
First recorded in 1350-1400, sixpence is from the Middle English word sexe pans. See six, pence Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sixpence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am to have ten shillings and sixpence—half a guinea a week!

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
  • I ought to add, that the sixpence got clear, the dog swimming away with it.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Adams gave a caper, and cry'd out, "It would do; for that he had sixpence himself."

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • The doctor's fee is four and sixpence, and you need not consult him often.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • I can't tell you what I don't owe in Helstonleigh, and I've not a sixpence to pay it with.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • You show me the exact spot, and I'll give you sixpence for smoke.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • But supposing the cost were not sixpence a week, not fivepence?

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • At length, when there was silence, he begged to be permitted to look at the sixpence.

  • Can he do an hour's work in a minute, and live on a sixpence a week?

    Farm Ballads Will Carleton
British Dictionary definitions for sixpence


a small British cupronickel coin with a face value of six pennies, worth 21/2 (new) pence, not minted since 1970
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 sixpence

late 14c., "sum of six pennies," from six + pence. As a specific British coin, from 1590s. Sixpenny (adj.) had a figurative sense "paltry, cheap, petty, worthless" by 1560s; sixpenny nails (early 15c.) cost so much per hundred.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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