• Penny


    • IPA: /ˈpɛ.ni/
    • Rhymes: -ɛni


    From Old English penning, penniġ, from Proto-Germanic *panningaz, of Unknown origin.

    Full definition of penny



    (plural pennies or pence)
    1. (historical) In the United Kingdom and Ireland, a copper coin worth 1/240 of a pound sterling or Irish pound before decimalisation. Abbreviation: d.
    2. In the United Kingdom, a copper coin worth 1/100 of a pound sterling.
    3. (historical) In Ireland, a coin worth 1/100 of an Irish pound before the introduction of the euro. Abbreviation: p.
    4. In the US and Canada, a one-cent coin, worth 1/100 of a dollar. Abbreviation: ¢.
    5. In various countries, a small-denomination copper or brass coin.
    6. A unit of nail size, said to be either the cost per 100 nails, or the number of nails per penny. Abbreviation: d.
    7. Money in general.to turn an honest penny
      • ShakespeareWhat penny hath Rome borne,
        What men provided, what munition sent?

    Usage notes

    The plural pence is used as a unit of currency. The plural is pennies is used for other cases, in particular when referring to multiple individual coins.


    • (1/240 of a pound sterling) old penny
    • (1/100 of a pound sterling) new penny (old-fashioned)
    • (one-cent coin) cent


    1. (slang) To jam a door shut by inserting pennies between the doorframe and the door.Zach and Ben had only been at college for a week when their door was pennied by the girls down the hall.
    2. (electronics) 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.
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