[pen-ee-fahr-th ing]

Origin of penny-farthing

from a comparison of the size difference between the two bicycle wheels to the size difference between an old British penny and a farthing
Also called ordinary. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for penny-farthing


  1. British an early type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a small rear wheel, the pedals being attached to the front wheelUS name: ordinary

Word Origin for penny-farthing

C20: so called because of the similarity between the relative sizes of the wheels and the relative sizes of the (old) penny and farthing coins
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