Peter's pence


plural in form but singular in construction
: an annual tribute of a penny formerly paid by each householder in England to the papal see
: a voluntary annual contribution made by Roman Catholics to the pope

Word History


Middle English; from the tradition that St. Peter founded the papal see

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Peter's pence was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near Peter's pence

Cite this Entry

“Peter's pence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

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