(in troy weight) a unit of 24 grains or 1/20 of an ounce (1.56 grams). Abbreviation: dwt, pwt

Origin of pennyweight

1350–1400; Middle English penyweight, Old English penega gewihte. See penny, weight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pennyweight

Historical Examples of pennyweight

  • Of course I have 'counted the cost,'—I have weighed the question to a pennyweight!

  • It draws at sixty pounds—not a pennyweight too much for a man of your inches.

    Sir Nigel

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Forty thousand ounces of gold, mates, not a pennyweight less?'


    B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon

  • A block of rock from the centre shaft showed 57 pennyweight to the ton.

    Through South Africa

    Henry M. Stanley

  • Gold of the same coin, and of Arabia, at five shillings the pennyweight.

British Dictionary definitions for pennyweight



a unit of weight equal to 24 grains or one twentieth of an ounce (Troy)
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

Word Origin and History for pennyweight

Old English penega gewiht, originally the weight of a silver penny; see penny + weight (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper