Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who supplies writing to public journals for a set fee per line of text; a poor writer for hire; a hack.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who furnishes matter to public journals at so much a line; a poor writer for hire; a hack writer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who furnishes news and other matter to the public journals as it were at a penny a line or some other small price; hence, any poor writer for hire; a hack-writer: so called in contempt.

Etymologies

Suggesting a fee of a penny per line. See -er. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mall to come over and speak to poor Brown, the young penny-a-liner.

    The Book of Snobs

  • Sir Marmaduke, ‘if I were to go and leave my girl as it were in the hands of a penny-a-liner.’

    He Knew He Was Right

  • Sir Marmaduke, in speaking of Stanbury after this, would constantly call him a penny-a-liner, thinking that the contamination of the penny communicated itself to all transactions of the Daily Record.

    He Knew He Was Right

  • These good things would have been accepted had it not been for this rascal of a penny-a-liner, this friend of that other rascal Trevelyan, who had come in the way of their family to destroy the happiness of them all!

    He Knew He Was Right

  • But this “penny-a-liner,” as the Doctor indignantly called him, had attacked him in his tenderest point.

    Dr. Wortle's school

  • From the penny-a-liner to the artist and thinker, the demand for their labour continually increases.

    Woman and Labour

  • “It has pleased the average penny-a-liner”: EWR, unpublished biographical sketch of WAR.

    The Great Bridge

  • Now a penny-a-liner is indebted to a single phrase which furnishes his column; a clergyman near

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 75, January, 1864

  • Not to be on the "Index" would call a blush to the cheek of the most unambitious of authors, -- would carry a presumption of worthlessness with it from which even the penny-a-liner would shrink with dismay, -- and to the poet and historian would sound like a sentence of perpetual exclusion from all those cherished hopes which irradiate with heavenly light the steep and thorny paths of intellectual renown.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 82, August, 1864

  • But the American penny-a-liner, our readers know, does the thing on the vast scale of his country.

    International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850

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