American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. In the United States and Canada, the coin that is worth one cent.
- n. A coin used in Great Britain since 1971, worth 1/100 of a pound. Also called new penny.
- n. A coin formerly used in Great Britain, worth 1/12 of a shilling or 1/240 of a pound.
- n. A coin formerly used in the Republic of Ireland, worth 1/100 of a pound.
- n. A coin used in various dependent territories of the United Kingdom.
- n. Any of various coins of small denomination.
- n. A sum of money.
- n. One of a set of colored, usually sleeveless shirts worn as a temporary team uniform, as when scrimmaging.
- idiom. pretty penny A considerable sum of money: I paid a pretty penny for that ring.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A silver coin weighing 22 ½ grains, or the 240th part of a Tower pound. It corresponded to the Roman denarius, and was also called
easterling. (See easterling, n., 2.) In 1346 its weight was reduced to 20 grains. Similar coins called pennieswere in use in Scotland and Ireland. [In early times any coin could be called a penny. Thus, the gold coins called florins, struck by order of Edward III. in 1343, were called by the people gold pennies, and the half-florins and quarter-florins respectively gold halfpennies and gold farthings.]
- n. In Great Britain, a copper (since 1860 bronze) token coin, of which twelve are equal to a shilling and 240 to a pound sterling. It weighs 145.833 grains troy, and is worth in metal about one fourth of its face-value. It is about equivalent to two cents United States currency. Copper pennies were first struck in the time of James I. (about 1609). In Scotland the value of the old penny was only one twelfth of a penny sterling, the pound being equal to 20 pence sterling. Abbreviated d. (for denarius).
- n. In the United States, a cent.
- n. An insignificant coin or value; a small sum.
- n. Money in general: as, it cost a pretty penny (a good round sum); to turn an honest penny.
- n. Pound: only in composition, in the phrases fourpenny, sixpenny, eightpenny, tenpenny nails, designating nails of such sizes that 1,000 will weigh 4, 6, 8, or 10 pounds. The original form of the phrases was four-pound nails, six-pound nails, etc.— that is, nails weighing 4, 6, etc., pounds to a thousand. These phrases, pronounced four-pun' nails, six-pun' nails, etc., seem to have become confused in the popular mind with fourpenny, sixpenny, etc., familiar adjectives denoting the price of small purchases; hence the present form, and so with eightpenny and tenpenny.
See nail, 5.
- n. In archery, a measure of weight for arrows, equal to one twelfth of the weight of a new (British) silver shilling: as, a 4s. 6d. arrow.
- n. historical In the United Kingdom and Ireland, a copper coin worth 1/240 of a pound sterling or Irish pound before decimalisation. Abbreviation: d.
- n. In the United Kingdom, a copper coin worth 1/100 of a pound sterling.
- n. historical In Ireland, a coin worth 1/100 of an Irish pound before the introduction of the euro. Abbreviation: p.
- n. In the US and Canada, a one-cent coin, worth 1/100 of a dollar. Abbreviation: ¢.
- n. In various countries, a small denomination copper or brass coin.
- n. A unit of nail size, said to be either the cost per 100 nails, or the number of nails per penny. Abbreviation: d.
- v. slang To jam a door shut by inserting pennies between the doorframe and the door.
- v. electronics To circumvent the tripping of an electrical circuit breaker by the dangerous practice of inserting a coin in place of a fuse in a fuse socket.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Denoting the weight in pounds for one thousand; -- used in combination, with respect to nails.
- n. A former English coin, originally of copper, then of bronze, the twelfth part of an English shilling in account value, and equal to four farthings, or about two cents; -- usually indicated by the abbreviation d. (the initial of
- n. Any small sum or coin; a groat; a stiver.
- n. Money, in general.
- n. (Script.) See Denarius.
- adj. Worth or costing one penny.
- n. a coin worth one-hundredth of the value of the basic unit
- n. a fractional monetary unit of Ireland and the United Kingdom; equal to one hundredth of a pound
- From Old English penning, penniġ, from Proto-Germanic *panningaz, of uncertain origin. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, an English coin, from Old English penig. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“In the U.S. financial markets, the term penny stock commonly refers to any stock trading outside one of the major exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ or AMEX), and is often considered pejorative.”
“I refer to his inclusion of the term penny dreadful.”
“Mr. Jay (who lives by supplying the newspapers with short paragraphs relating to accidents, offenses, and brief records of remarkable occurrences in general -- who is, in short, what they call a penny-a-liner) told his landlord that he had been in the city that day and heard unfavourable rumours on the subject of the joint-stock banks.”
“Mr. Jay (who lives by supplying the newspapers with short paragraphs relating to accidents, offenses, and brief records of remarkable occurrences in general -- who is, in short, what they call a penny-a-liner) told his landlord that he had been in the city that day and heard unfavorable rumors on the subject of the joint-stock banks.”
“They have devised a way to search thru a whole lot of information to find picks that are what they call penny pump finder (ppf).”
“Offa's pennies were the equivalent of the contemporary Frankish denier - 'penny' is English for 'denier' - and became the dominant coinage south of the Humber very quickly.”
“But as a taxpayer, all YOU will see is land that you own in common with the rest of America destroyed vis quail and deer habitat, and you won't get a penny from the Cu, and you'll almost certainly wind up paying mitigation costs and subsidizing road construction and so forth.”
“I specifically remember that the instructions specified a certain penny-weight of nails for the weights.”
“Sure they can keep their co-pays, deductibles and pre-existing small-print clauses, squeezing every penny from a hurting economy, but tell the -- BLOODY TRUTH!”
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