Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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. 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. To jam a door shut by inserting pennies between the doorframe and the door.
  • v. 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 denarius).
  • n. Any small sum or coin; a groat; a stiver.
  • n. Money, in general.
  • n. See Denarius.
  • adj. Worth or costing one penny.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A silver coin weighing 22 ½ grains, or the 240th part of a Tower pound.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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

Etymologies

Middle English, an English coin, from Old English penig.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English penning, penniġ, from Proto-Germanic *panningaz, of uncertain origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 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.

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  • Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada-Reno said the term penny slots is a misnomer because most wagers on the devices are much greater.

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  • I refer to his inclusion of the term penny dreadful.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XII No 2

  • 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.

    Masterpieces of Mystery In Four Volumes Detective Stories

  • 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.

    The Queen of Hearts

  • 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).

    WN.com - Business News

  • 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.

    The Merovingian coins from Sutton Hoo

  • 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.

    Bush Administration v. Environmental Groups

  • I specifically remember that the instructions specified a certain penny-weight of nails for the weights.

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  • 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!

    It's not a health care system, it's a wealth care system

Comments

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  • Before decimalisation in UK (15-2-1971) currency used was pounds, shillings and pence.

    Abbreviation: d
    12d = 1 shilling; 20 shillings = £1
    240d = £1

    Penny is also US vernacular for one-cent coin

    July 17, 2008

  • On the TV series Sugarfoot, Penny was the horse of fledgling frontier lawyer Tom Brewster (Will Hutchins.)

    February 1, 2008