red cent

noun Informal.

a cent, as representative of triviality: His promise isn't worth a red cent.

Nearby words

  1. red cabbage,
  2. red card,
  3. red carpet,
  4. red cedar,
  5. red cell,
  6. red chamber,
  7. red china,
  8. red chokeberry,
  9. red clay,
  10. red clover

Origin of red cent

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for red cent

red cent


(used with a negative) informal, mainly US a cent considered as a trivial amount of money (esp in the phrases not have a red cent, not worth a red cent, etc)
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 red cent

red cent


obsolete type of copper penny, 1839, American English, from red (adj.1) + cent. "Red" has been the color of copper, brass, and gold since ancient times.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with red cent

red cent

see under not worth a dime.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.