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

Start by talking with one of their friendly, knowledgeable bathroom designers, or fill out a quick online form to request a free, down-to-the-penny quote. Stepfanie Romine,, "Remodel your bathroom — for less money, with less mess and in less time," 10 June 2019 RIP Medical Debt buys debt portfolios on this secondary market for pennies on the dollar with money from its donors. Kaiser Health News,, "Churches take lead in helping poor with medical debt," 9 June 2019 The students were split into five teamsand competed to see which team could collect the most pennies. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Community news: Frankfort students' Penny Wars fundraiser collects over $2K for pediatric cancer foundation," 6 June 2019 All of them deserve to be paid well and not pennies for their skills that literally clothe the world Dream job? Vogue, "19 FIT, Pratt, and Parsons 2019 Graduates on Their Collections and the Future of Fashion," 22 May 2019 There are a bunch of hues trending for spring, including copper penny (think Emma Stone), baby blonde (like on Miley Cyrus), and warm brunette (hello, Constance Wu). Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Ash Mauve Hair Is the Smoky New Hair-Color Trend For Spring," 5 Apr. 2019 Although Josh warns against penny-pinching in this department. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Why Exactly Does My Hair Hurt?," 7 Mar. 2019 Make an Extra 10K Taryn Toomey got to her $10,000 by counting every penny, brushing off the doubters, and investing in herself. Taryn Toomey, Glamour, "How Fitness Guru Taryn Toomey Got "Obsessed" with Cash Flow and Created Jennifer Aniston's Favorite Workout," 9 Apr. 2019 Britney Spears collected quite the pretty penny last year. Fox News, "Britney Spears' court case reveals how much she made in 2017," 5 Aug. 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

14 Jun 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 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

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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

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showing courage and determination

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