from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A coin formerly used in Great Britain worth one fourth of a penny.
  • noun Something of little value.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An English piece of money equal to one fourth of a penny; the smallest English coin and money of account.
  • noun A division of land, probably originally a fourth of a hide; later, a quarter of an acre.
  • noun Anything very small; a small quantity.
  • noun [In the New Testament farthing is used to translate the Greek name of two small Roman coins, the assarius, worth one and a half cents, and the quadrans, a quarter of an assarius.]

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The fourth of a penny; a small copper coin of Great Britain, being a cent in United States currency.
  • noun obsolete A very small quantity or value.
  • noun obsolete A division of land.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Former British unit of currency worth one-quarter of an old penny.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a former British bronze coin worth a quarter of a penny


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ferthing, from Old English fēorthung; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English feorðing ("a quarter"), from feorða ("fourth"), probably influenced by Old Norse fiórðungr


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  • In England they have a piece they call a farthing, which is about half a cent.

    Island Nights' Entertainments Robert Louis Stevenson 1872

  • There is now not the slightest ground for hoping we ever shall obtain a farthing from the cottage at Honington.

    Letter 378 2009

  • It features such useful information as "a farthing is so small that it's only used nowadays by the dwarfs."

    A lesson in British currency from Uncle 2007

  • It features such useful information as "a farthing is so small that it's only used nowadays by the dwarfs."

    A Different Stripe: 2007

  • For God does not consider how much ye bear, but what is the store from which it comes; but each at all events can bring his farthing, that is, a ready will, which is called a farthing, because it is accompanied by three things, that is, thought, word and deed.

    Catena Aurea - Gospel of Mark 1225?-1274 1842

  • Then he fetched a pot of milk and plenty of white bread, gave him a bright newly-coined farthing in his hand, and said, “Hans, hold that farthing fast, crumble the white bread into the milk, and stay where you are, and do not stir from that spot till I come back.”

    Household Tales 2003

  • The farthing was a small coin used in Judea, equal to two mites.

    Barnes New Testament Notes 1949

  • Ring and all, they have no market value; for a farthing is the least coin in our currency.

    A Relic 1919

  • Not a farthing is the value of the honest love you hold;

    In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses Henry Lawson 1894

  • From St. Mark's explanation, "two mites, which make a farthing," ver. 42, it may perhaps be inferred that the farthing was the commoner coin.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary 1884


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  • The last farthings were minted in Britain in 1957 and ceased to be legal tender in 1960. In fact their buying power was limited well before, and few were in general circulation.

    July 17, 2008