from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. As much as a pen will hold.
  • n. As much as one can write with one dip of ink.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • They know the value of gold perfectly well, for they bring it for sale in goose-quills, and demand 24 yards of calico for one penful.

    Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa

  • The carriages overcome, you find yourself confronted by a huge penful of Durham oxen, lying on hay and surrounded by a barricade of oars.

    Little Travels and Roadside Sketches

  • Now, having thus gaily trimmed and set up this man of straw, — to whose framing I dare boldly say not one of his adversaries did ever contribute a penful of ink, — to show his rare skill, he chargeth it with I know not how many errors, blasphemies, lies, set on with exclamations and vehement outcries, until it tumble to the ground.

    The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

  • I feel that I am living now only because you love me: and that my life will have run out, like this penful of ink, when that use in me is past.

    An Englishwoman's Love-Letters

  • "Art thou ready at last to leave the Temple, child?" asked Aunt Miriam, coming up behind Naomi as she stood gazing in at a penful of young lambs.

    Christmas Light

  • Why did civilized people want to talk a lingo that made you grunt like a pig -- or like a penful of pigs of all sizes?

    Jimmie Higgins

  • Richard Dalloway and Rachel, for she ran on with the same penful to describe her niece.

    The Voyage Out

  • Dalloway and Rachel, for she ran on with the same penful to describe her niece.

    The Voyage Out

  • I told him to jab a penful of ink on the platinum points, as there was sugar enough to make it sufficiently thick to hold up when the operator tried to break -- the current still going through the ink so that he could not break.

    Edison, His Life and Inventions, vol. 1

  • Besides the chickens, we have several other additions to the family – two calves, a colt, and a penful of funny little pigs.

    The Story of My Life


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