[ sent ]
/ sɛnt /


one 100th of the dollar, or other basic monetary unit, of various nations, including the United States. Symbol: ¢, c
penny (def. 1): Sorry, I’ve only got two dimes, a nickel, and four cents.
a monetary unit of certain European Union countries, one 100th of a euro.



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Origin of cent

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English, from Latin centēsimus “hundredth” (by shortening), equivalent to cent(um) “100” (see hundred) + -ēsimus ordinal suffix


cents , scents, sense

Definition for cent (2 of 3)


variant of centi- before a vowel: centare.

Definition for cent (3 of 3)


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does cent- mean?

Cent- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “hundredth” or “hundred.”

Cent- comes from the Latin centum, meaning “hundred.” The word cent, as in a hundredth of a dollar and also known as a penny, ultimately comes from this same Latin root, as does percent. The Greek word for “hundred” is hekatón, source of the combining forms hecto-, hect-, hekto-, and hekt-, which you can learn more about in our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Cent- is a variant of centi-, which loses its -i– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use centi- article.

Examples of cent-

Among other senses, centennial means “marking or lasting one hundred years, such as the centennial anniversary of an event.”

The cent- part of the word means “hundred” and -ennial means “pertaining to a period of years.” So, centennial has a literal sense of “hundred year period.”

What are some words that use or are related to the combining form cent-?

The following forms feature the equivalent forms of cent- in Latin, Spanish, or French.

What are some other forms that cent- may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that begins with the exact letters cent- is necessarily using the combining form cent- to denote “hundredth,” such as center or centaur. Learn more about their history and meaning at our entries for the words.

Break it down!

Centesimal describes something divided into how many parts?

British Dictionary definitions for cent

/ (sɛnt) /


a monetary unit of American Samoa, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brunei, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United States, the Vatican City, the Virgin Islands, and Zimbabwe. It is worth one hundredth of their respective standard units
an interval of pitch between two frequencies f 2 and f 1 equal to 3986.31 log (f 2 / f 1); one twelve-hundredth of the interval between two frequencies having the ratio 1:2 (an octave)

Word Origin for cent

C16: from Latin centēsimus hundredth, from centum hundred
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

Idioms and Phrases with cent


see for two cents; not worth a dime (red cent); put in one's two cents.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.