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

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 Another pricey tool worth every penny, the blade on this razor grabs every hair while also sloughing away dead skin to help your skincare penetrate better. ELLE, 26 Apr. 2022 The team in the desert did next to nothing this offseason after losing a franchise-worst 110 games in 2021, tied with the penny-pinching Orioles for most in the majors. Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2022 Her path to social-media fame came through champion-level penny-pinching. Miho Inada, WSJ, 29 Dec. 2021 Camera supporters griped that opponents were naive, penny-pinching Luddites standing in the way of community progress. Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2021 This projected Nuggets salary structure cuts sharply against the grain of the penny-pinching reputation of owners Stan and Josh Kroenke. Joel Rush, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 Many employees argue there is another key ingredient added by the hospitals that makes the end result particularly toxic: A penny-pinching mentality that allows the understaffing to develop in the first place. Caitlin Murray, oregonlive, 14 Aug. 2021 The opportunity here is that some penny-wise buyers, with access to home charging and limited routine driving, could live happily with the smaller battery, knowing that rapid recharging is out there, if needed. Dan Neil, WSJ, 5 May 2022 And these same companies–dangling these life-enhancing properties in the form of an easy-to-swallow pill, potion, or delicious lil’ gummy—also charge a pretty penny for their products. Melissa Matthews, Men's Health, 4 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About penny

Time Traveler for penny

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near penny

Pennsylvania truss



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Statistics for penny

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Penny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for penny


pen·​ny | \ ˈpe-nē How to pronounce penny (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on penny

Nglish: Translation of penny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of penny for Arabic Speakers


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