noun, often attributive
pen·​ny | \ ˈpe-nē \
plural pennies\ ˈpe-​nēz \ or pence\ ˈpen(t)s \

Definition of penny

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a monetary unit of the United Kingdom formerly equal to ¹/₂₄₀ pound but now equal to ¹/₁₀₀ pound
b : a similar monetary unit of any of various other countries in or formerly in the Commonwealth of Nations — see pound at Money Table
c : a coin representing one penny
2 : denarius
3 plural pennies : cent
4 : a former monetary unit equal to ¹/₁₀₀ Irish pound
5 : a trivial amount
6 : a piece or sum of money that will cost a pretty penny

Definition of -penny (Entry 2 of 2)

: being a (designated) nail size an eightpenny nail

Examples of penny in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Worth every penny to have our pups MidCentury Mod with us. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "This Mid-Century Modern Dog Bed Is Pure Luxury," 30 Nov. 2018 According to Saks Fifth Avenue, the shoes cost a pretty penny, at just shy of $600. Sarah Brookbank,, "See what Melania Trump was wearing when she visited Cincinnati," 6 Feb. 2018 Returning for its sophomore show, those looking to drop a pretty penny can opt for the $200 44-ounce bone-in ribeye, which comes with steak sauce, creamed spinach, crisp potato slices, and a porcini bread pudding. Kat Odell, ELLE Decor, "Ralph Lauren Beef Returns To New York's Polo Bar," 12 Oct. 2016 Consider that some objects, like old beanie babies or original VHS tapes, may now be worth a pretty penny. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Netflix's "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" Is Perfect Meme Fodder," 3 Jan. 2019 Designers are going through a iconolatrous phase with homages to Deneuve and Jackie O and Princess Grace two a penny. Vogue, "How Yohji Yamamoto Brought Poetry and Warmth to His Arctic-Inspired Collection for Fall 2000," 25 Dec. 2018 Rents for offices are highest in downtown Orlando, at an average of $27.97 per square foot, and the university area, at just a penny less. Bill Zimmerman,, "Drop in Metro Orlando office occupancies could get worse, analyst says," 11 July 2018 Gasoline prices in San Antonio fell by just over a penny last week while prices across the country remained mostly flat after surging alongside crude oil prices ahead of the July 4 holiday. Katherine Blunt And Rye Druzin, San Antonio Express-News, "Gas prices continue to fall in San Antonio," 9 July 2018 If Iseler ever sees a penny from her ex-husband is an open question. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "He abandoned his family 25 years ago. Now Richard Hoagland owes them $2 million," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penny.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of penny


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for penny


Middle English, from Old English penning, penig; akin to Old High German pfenning, a coin

Adjective combining form

penny; perhaps from the original price per hundred

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Statistics for penny

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for penny

The first known use of penny was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for penny



English Language Learners Definition of penny

: a coin or a unit of money equal to ¹/₁₀₀ of a dollar
: a coin or a unit of money equal to ¹/₁₀₀ of a British pound
: a British coin used before 1971 that was equal to ¹/₁₂ of a shilling


pen·​ny | \ ˈpe-nē \
plural pennies\ ˈpe-​nēz \

Kids Definition of penny

1 : cent
2 or plural pence\ ˈpens\ : a coin of the United Kingdom equal to ¹/₁₀₀ pound

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More from Merriam-Webster on penny

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with penny

Spanish Central: Translation of penny

Nglish: Translation of penny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of penny for Arabic Speakers

Comments on penny

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excited commotion or publicity

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