from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Wisdom or prudence in small matters: used with reference to the phrase penny-wise and pound-foolish, and implying foolishness or improvidence in important affairs.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • And if it is not exactly intellectual bankruptcy, it approaches intellectual penny-wisdom and pound-foolishness.

    Letters to the Editor

  • He lives in it, and masters it by a penny-wisdom; and he that works most in it, is but


  • Petty's 'entertainments, magnificent shews, triumphal arches, etc.' gave place to the penny-wisdom of Gladstonian finance and to a state system which

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

  • Therefore, it will not be recommended that draining be ever confined to the wettest lands only; that, in the pursuance of a penny-wisdom, drains be constructed with stones, or brush, or boards; that the antiquated horse-shoe tiles be used, because they cost less money; or that it will, in any case, be economical to make only such drains as are necessary to remove the water of large springs.

    Draining for Profit, and Draining for Health

  • For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted, that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up into the vision of principles.

    Nature: Addresses and Lectures (1849)

  • He lives in it, and masters it by a penny-wisdom; and he that works most in it, is but a half-man, and whilst his arms are strong and his digestion good, his mind is imbruted, and he is a selfish savage.

    Nature: Addresses and Lectures (1849)

  • Farmers, for his penny-wisdom about grain-price supports.

    The Full Feed from


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.