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 Until only a few years ago, that strategy was disparaged as a dodge for shady, penny-stock ventures keen to avoid the scrutiny of a traditional IPO. Fortune, "3 reasons why Grab is going public with a SPAC vs. a traditional IPO," 14 Apr. 2021 Often tied to small and unprofitable companies, penny stocks can be extremely risky, and many people have lost their shirts in them. Dallas News, "The Motley Fool: Netflix still has plenty of potential for global growth," 28 Mar. 2021 In November the New Jersey real estate company West of Hudson Properties, which manages a $300 million portfolio of homes, including Clubhouse, went public on the penny stocks market. Max Berlinger, Town & Country, "Where the TikTokcracy Holds Court," 22 Mar. 2021 Trading in what are called penny stocks is up more than 2,000% in the last year. Star Tribune, "An actual investment produces something, and the rest is gambling," 20 Mar. 2021 But current and former regulators say penny stock fraud will remain as long as penny stocks are traded. New York Times, "Penny Stocks Are Booming, Which Is Good News for Swindlers," 18 Mar. 2021 As investing looks more like a casino, here’s how to keep risk in check Bitcoin, meme stocks, SPACs, and penny stocks are all the rage to start 2021. Rob Isbitts, Forbes, "This Stock Market Bubble May Not Be So Bad," 28 Feb. 2021 As Americans continue to grasp with the economic fallout of the pandemic, every penny should count. Nicolas Loris, Star Tribune, "Rising gas prices: Not Biden's fault, at least not yet," 28 Mar. 2021 Each additional penny in tax would raise about $30 million, and the additional money would help state officials draw down $780 million in federal money that otherwise would go to other states, McFarland said. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Louisiana business group says proposal to increase gas tax will not be filed," 26 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for penny

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for penny

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Penny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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

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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