penny-farthing [ pen-ee-fahr- th ing] Word Origin a high bicycle of an early type, with one large wheel in front and one small wheel behind. 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
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for pennyfarthing British an early type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a small rear wheel, the pedals being attached to the front wheel US 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
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Word Origin and History for pennyfarthing adj.
penny farthing, penny-farthing, "ineffective," 1887, from penny + farthing, the two together making but a small sum. The noun, in reference to the kind of bicycle with a small wheel in back and a big one in front (so called from the notion of different size coins) is first recorded 1927.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper