from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Careful in dealing with small sums of money or small matters.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Thrifty in regards to small amounts of money.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Thrifty in small matters only. Used mostly in the phrase penny-wise and pound foolish.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Saving small sums at the hazard of larger; niggardly in unimportant affairs: generally used in the phrase penny-wise and pound-foolish, careful in small economies and wasteful in large affairs.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. thrifty in small matters only
The term penny-wise is hyphenated because it is a compound modifier in which wise means smart, rather than a use of the suffix -wise.
Sacrificing the health and achievement of the next generation is penny-wise and pound foolish when other nations are pulling ahead and leaving our children behind.
Their complaint that we cannot afford to spend an additional $7 billion over five years to upgrade school lunch menus by requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy is a classic case of "penny-wise, pound-foolish."
I'd say the mess that NASA is in schedule-wise concerning the Shuttle program and bringing the Constellation system online is mostly due to the penny-wise pound-foolish politicians in Congress forcing NASA into an endles series of less than optimal decisions based on availability of not enough money.
Two examples of penny-wise but pound-foolish decisions: A city decides to reduce its number of public safety officers only to experience an increase in crime that drives away tax-paying businesses; or it decides to increase school class sizes only to produce lower graduation rates.
This really is the epitome of penny-wise and pound-foolish, but I knew it was coming.
Of course leaving the status quo in place instead would again be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Cutting the funding "would be penny-wise and pound-foolish."
Small Change Solution: Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish!
"We face a critical moment now in Iraq, where we will either step up to the plate, finish the job and build on the sacrifices made," Jeffrey said, "or we will risk core U.S. national security interests, be penny-wise and pound-foolish and cede the field to al-Qaeda and other dangerous regional influences."