/ ˈheɪpəθ /


  1. an amount that may be bought for a halfpenny
  2. a trifling or very small amount
“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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Example Sentences

But these are but the halfpennyworth of bread compared to the vast quantity of sack.

Can it be he has made up his mind to do without his halfpennyworth of milk for the dog?

Has anyone thrown away a halfpennyworth of sympathy upon any person mentioned in this history?

Not one halfpennyworth of property was lost, stolen, or strayed.

I never professed to have a halfpennyworth of pity at that gentleman's command.


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More About Halfpennyworth

What does halfpennyworth mean?

A halfpennyworth is as much as you can buy for a halfpenny, as in I’ll have a halfpennyworth of licorice, sir. 

It can also be used in a figurative way to mean a very small amount, as in He doesn’t have a pennyworth of common sense. It’s often used to refer to an amount considered trivial or unimportant. Sometimes, it’s used in a way similar to the phrase two cents when it means one’s (unimportant) opinion, as in Here’s my halfpennyworth. 

Halfpennyworth is an old-fashioned word that’s rarely used literally, due to the fact that nothing costs a halfpenny anymore. Its figurative use is also uncommon.

Halfpennyworth is sometimes abbreviated as ha’p’orth (or with other contractions). It’s most closely associated with its use in the U.K. The former halfpenny coin was worth one half of a penny (pluralized as pence), which was worth one twelfth of a shilling. The related term pennyworth (sometimes abbreviated as penn’orth) refers to an amount that can be bought for a penny.

In U.K. slang, the term daft pennyworth (or daft ha’p’orth) is used as a mild insult or an endearing way to refer to someone considered a bit daft—foolish.

Example: This doesn’t make a halfpennyworth of sense!

Where does halfpennyworth come from?

The first records of the word halfpennyworth come from around 1000, and the word pennyworth is recorded even earlier. It comes from the Old English word penigweorth, which is a combination of the words that preceded penny and worth.

Pennyworth and halfpennyworth are no longer commonly used, and the same goes for even more old-timey-sounding terms like tuppence worth. However, worth is still commonly used in the same way in similar terms like dollar’s worth, as in I bought nine dollar’s worth of fabric.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to halfpennyworth?

What are some synonyms for halfpennyworth?

  • halfpenny’s worth
  • pennyworth (when used figuratively)

What are some words that share a root or word element with halfpennyworth


What are some words that often get used in discussing halfpennyworth?

How is halfpennyworth used in real life?

The word halfpennyworth is very rarely used.



Try using halfpennyworth!

True or False? 

Halfpennyworth can be used figuratively to mean a very small amount.