[siks-puh ns]

noun, plural six·pence, six·penc·es for 2.

(used with a singular or plural verb) British. a sum of six pennies.
(used with a singular verb) a cupronickel coin of the United Kingdom, the half of a shilling, formerly equal to six pennies: equal to two and one-half new pence after decimalization in 1971.

Origin of sixpence

First recorded in 1350–1400, sixpence is from the Middle English word sexe pans. See six, pence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sixpence

Contemporary Examples of sixpence

Historical Examples of sixpence

  • I am to have ten shillings and sixpence—half a guinea a week!

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • I ought to add, that the sixpence got clear, the dog swimming away with it.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Adams gave a caper, and cry'd out, "It would do; for that he had sixpence himself."

  • The doctor's fee is four and sixpence, and you need not consult him often.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • You show me the exact spot, and I'll give you sixpence for smoke.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for sixpence



a small British cupronickel coin with a face value of six pennies, worth 2 1/2 (new) pence, not minted since 1970
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 sixpence

late 14c., "sum of six pennies," from six + pence. As a specific British coin, from 1590s. Sixpenny (adj.) had a figurative sense "paltry, cheap, petty, worthless" by 1560s; sixpenny nails (early 15c.) cost so much per hundred.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper