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
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 But California’s new system fell into crisis when prices jumped from $1 per megawatt hour to $9,999, then back down to a penny. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "Yo, Arizona! Don’t deregulate your electricity market like Texas unless you want games galore," 24 Jan. 2020 That’s the equivalent of pennies in the United States. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County plastic bag ban: Pinecrest holiday shoppers largely applaud plastic bag ban," 7 Dec. 2019 Some of that nonsense is self-conscious marketing, a kind of grandly inflated version of the clickbait economy that keeps the gurgle churning, assembling a hectomillionaire’s fortune a fraction of a penny at a time. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Gospel According to Kanye," 7 Nov. 2019 Financial derivatives are more cognitively estranging than pennies. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "How “The Memory Police” Makes You See," 6 Nov. 2019 The suit says male seeds sell for less than a penny each while feminized seeds cost as must as $1 each because female plants produce a CBD-rich flower. oregonlive, "After hemp crop tanks, CBD producer sues Oregon hemp seed seller for $44 million, lawsuit says," 28 Sep. 2019 However, the economics of the cargo business model rely on a difference of pennies per gallon between hauling more fuel or hauling more cargo, industry experts note. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Discovery of more earthquake damage adds to troubles at Port of Alaska," 17 July 2019 Four of the nine Republican candidates running for the Baldwin County Commission believe that future renewals of the penny sales tax ought to go before the voters for consideration. Lily Jackson |, al, "Baldwin County Schools recognized nationally for construction funding plan," 30 July 2019 Instead, banks will treat overdraft protection as mini-loans with a simple annual interest rate that would amount to pennies a day. David Lazarus,, "Enough is enough. Let’s abolish overdraft fees," 21 June 2019

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

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Penny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for penny


How to pronounce -penny (audio)

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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