- a bronze coin, the 100th part of the dollars of various nations, as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States; one cent.
- Also called new penny. a bronze coin and monetary unit of the United Kingdom and various other nations, the 100th part of a pound. Abbreviation: p
- a former bronze coin and monetary unit of the United Kingdom and various other nations, the 12th part of a shilling: use phased out in 1971. Abbreviation: d.
- a sum of money: He spent every penny he ever earned.
- the length of a nail in terms of certain standard designations from twopenny to sixtypenny.
- Stock Exchange. of, relating to, or being penny stock: frenzied speculation in the penny market.
- a bad penny, someone or something undesirable.
- a pretty penny, Informal. a considerable sum of money: Their car must have cost them a pretty penny.
- spend a penny, Chiefly British Slang. to urinate: from the former cost of using a public lavatory.
- turn an honest penny, to earn one's living honestly; make money by fair means: He's never turned an honest penny in his life.
Origin of penny
- a female given name, form of Penelope.
Examples from the Web for penny
Contemporary Examples of penny
They deserve every penny and more: booking a four week tour is a huge job.How Much Money Does a Band Really Make on Tour?
December 8, 2014
“Every single witness is inadmissible, hearsay, triple-hearsay,” said assistant state attorney Penny Brill in court yesterday.Did Pablo Escobar Frame a Millionaire for Murdering Banana-Shipping Money Launderers?
November 11, 2014
While there I am, getting mad at my wife for sending me cards all the time because I know she needs every penny right now.Deep Thoughts from War Machine's Sexist, Racist Prison Blog
August 21, 2014
Then the director, Penny Marshall, encouraged him to drop some of the literal behavior and put more of himself into the character.The Stacks: Robin Williams, More Than A Shtick Figure
August 16, 2014
Maupin assured the publication he had not “spent a penny” in a strip club.Strippers for Jesus
July 30, 2014
Historical Examples of penny
Obulus, (plural Oboli)—A small coin, about the value of a penny.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
If she was gone he would spend every penny he had to find her!Weighed and Wanting
Sir, you once gave me a penny, and you have since embezzled my fortune.
He spared no expense, which he could well afford, seeing that he never paid a penny.
To her, the blaze of the Set's smartness was but the flicker of a penny dip.
- Also called (formerly): new penny (in Britain) a bronze coin having a value equal to one hundredth of a poundSymbol: p
- (in Britain before 1971) a bronze or copper coin having a value equal to one twelfth of a shilling or one two-hundred-and-fortieth of a poundAbbreviation: d
- a former monetary unit of the Republic of Ireland worth one hundredth of a pound
- plural pennies (in the US and Canada) a cent
- a coin of similar value, as used in several other countries
- (used with a negative) informal, mainly British the least amount of moneyI don't have a penny
- a bad penny informal, mainly British an objectionable person or thing (esp in the phrase turn up like a bad penny)
- a pretty penny informal a considerable sum of money
- spend a penny British informal to urinate
- the penny dropped informal, mainly British the explanation of something was finally realized
- two a penny plentiful but of little value
Word Origin for penny
Old English pening, penig, Northumbrian penning "penny," from Proto-Germanic *panninggaz (cf. Old Norse penningr, Swedish pänning, Danish penge, Old Frisian panning, Old Saxon pending, Middle Dutch pennic, Dutch penning, Old High German pfenning, German Pfennig, not recorded in Gothic, where skatts is used instead), of unknown origin.
Offa's reformed coinage on light, broad flans is likely to have begun c.760-5 in London, with an awareness of developments in Francia and East Anglia. ... The broad flan penny established by Offa remained the principal denomination, with only minor changes, until the fourteenth century. [Anna Gannon, "The Iconography of Early Anglo-Saxon Coinage," Oxford, 2003]
The English coin was originally set at one-twelfth of a shilling and was of silver, later copper, then bronze. There are two plural forms: pennies of individual coins, pence collectively. In translations it rendered various foreign coins of small denomination, especially Latin denarius, whence comes its abbreviation d.
As American English colloquial for cent, it is recorded from 1889. Penny-a-liner "writer for a journal or newspaper" is attested from 1834. Penny dreadful "cheap and gory fiction" dates from c.1870. Phrase penny-wise and pound-foolish is recorded from c.1600. Penny-pincher "miserly person" is recorded from 1906 (as an adjective penny-pinching is recorded from 1858, American English). Penny loafers attested from 1960.
In addition to the idioms beginning with penny
- penny for your thoughts, a
- penny pincher
- penny saved is a penny earned, a
- penny wise and pound foolish
- in for a penny, in for a pound
- pinch pennies
- pretty penny
- turn up (like a bad penny)