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pen·​ny-an·​te ˈpe-nē-ˈan-tē How to pronounce penny-ante (audio)

penny ante

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: poker played for very low stakes

Examples of penny-ante in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Unlike shoplifting, this is not a penny-ante crime, and it’s carried out every day with the ruthless efficiency of the boardroom. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 4 Nov. 2023 That was penny-ante compared to the news that a metal salvager had found 52 of that year’s Oscars statuettes, still plastic-wrapped, in the trash behind a Koreatown store. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2023
And the abuelas did not like to lose their penny ante poker games, said Surfside native Michelle Kuper, whose grandmother and aunt lived in Champlain East. Author: Linda Robertson, Anchorage Daily News, 4 July 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'penny-ante.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1865, in the meaning defined above


1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of penny-ante was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near penny-ante

penny ante


penny arcade

Cite this Entry

“Penny-ante.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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