[ hey-puh-nee, heyp-nee ]

noun,plural half·pen·nies for 1; half·pence [hey-puhns] /ˈheɪ pəns/ for 2.
  1. a bronze coin of the United Kingdom, equal to half a penny: use phased out in 1984.

  2. the sum of half a penny.

  1. of the price or value of a halfpenny.

  2. of little value; worthless: a halfpenny matter.

  1. 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

Words Nearby halfpenny

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use halfpenny in a sentence

  • The price of tobacco accordingly dropped from fourpence a pound to a halfpenny per pound by 1667.

  • Nothing further transpired, however, and the readers of the halfpenny press for once were deprived of their sensation.

    The Double Four | E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • When I was a boy, such a thing was out of the question, as to each paper a fourpenny-halfpenny stamp was attached.

    East Anglia | J. Ewing Ritchie
  • Why, in tossing up a halfpenny, do we reckon it equally probable that we shall throw cross or pile?

  • The flowers are lovely; you can buy a big bunch of violets for a son, and sou is the peasant word for a halfpenny.

British Dictionary definitions for halfpenny



/ (ˈheɪpnɪ, for sense 1 ˈhɑːfˌpɛnɪ) /

  1. Also called: half plural -pennies a small British coin worth half a new penny, withdrawn from circulation in 1985

  2. plural -pennies an old British coin worth half an old penny

  1. plural -pence the sum represented by half a penny

  2. plural -pence something of negligible value

  3. (modifier) having the value or price of a halfpenny

  4. (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