Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Halfpennyworth.
  • n. A silly or foolish person.
  • n. A thing of little value.

Etymologies

Northern British English, from British English half-penny’s worth, often used in the phrase “daft ha’porth”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In any event, it didn't make a ha'porth of difference.

    Fiancée

  • Not that it made a ha'porth of difference: they'd seen what they'd seen, and held by it.

    Watershed

  • It's because MsR is so classy that I know that whatever underwear I buy her won't make a ha'porth of difference to my prospect of, as you so quaintly put it, 'ravishing her'.

    Ms R is all tied up

  • Given the amount of work that's been done ...and done well...on this house by these builders, why spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar as they say?

    Fizzing.

  • Portuguese premier José Socrates also contributed his ha'porth, pronouncing: "The Portuguese presidency has received a mandate to produce a new treaty, and in the mandate it doesn't say 'oh, by the way, you can revise the mandate."

    Wising up

  • To add to the confusion, we now have the intervention of Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, who has added his ha'porth to the debate by proclaiming that only a "strict" double majority would ensure equality among European Union member states.

    Confusion reigns

  • And what's more, he hasn't a ha'porth of belief in the Heavenly Creator, who made us out of earthly clay; but he says it's all the work of nature even to the last beast.

    The Possessed

  • Mooning over this Alamut List won't do a ha'porth of good – if we wait for them to start we've already lost half the battle! '

    The Alamut Ambush

  • There was that stepmother — But it doesn't make a ha'porth of difference to our plans: we'll start on the ebb to-morrow morning. '

    The Riddle of the Sands

  • There isn't more than a ha'porth of meat in a crab.

    Lord of the Flies

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Comments

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  • You guess right c_b. I recall using the word during my childtime. We had a coin, a halfpenny piece. Half a penny, of course. Shortened to a ha'penny (pronounced 'haypenny' or 'haypnee'). So from 'halfpenny worth' to 'ha'penny worth' to 'ha'p'orth' to 'ha'porth' (pronounced 'hayperth'). At the time you would get 480 'haypnies' to the pound sterling! I calculate that a ha'porth equivalent now is 0.20833rec... of a (new) UK penny! Not a lot of tar.

    February 20, 2008

  • If I had to guess, I would say "half-penny-worth," but I won't guess. Here's a usage:

    "'We have hurried so much already that it would be a pity to spoil the ship with a ha'porth of tar at this stage.'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 82

    February 20, 2008