Penny wise
Penny Pen*ny, n.; pl. {Pennies}or {Pence}. Pennies denotes the number of coins; pence the amount of pennies in value. [OE. peni, AS. penig, pening, pending; akin to D. penning, OHG. pfenning, pfenting, G. pfennig, Icel. penningr; of uncertain origin.] 1. An English coin, formerly of copper, now of bronze, the twelfth part of an English shilling in account value, and equal to four farthings, or about two cents; -- usually indicated by the abbreviation d. (the initial of denarius). [1913 Webster]

Note: ``The chief Anglo-Saxon coin, and for a long period the only one, corresponded to the denarius of the Continent . . . [and was] called penny, denarius, or denier.'' --R. S. Poole. The ancient silver penny was worth about three pence sterling (see {Pennyweight}). The old Scotch penny was only one twelfth the value of the English coin. In the United States the word penny is popularly used for cent. [1913 Webster]

2. Any small sum or coin; a groat; a stiver. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. Money, in general; as, to turn an honest penny. [1913 Webster]

What penny hath Rome borne, What men provided, what munition sent? --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. (Script.) See {Denarius}. [1913 Webster]

{Penny cress} (Bot.), an annual herb of the Mustard family, having round, flat pods like silver pennies ({Thlaspi arvense}). --Dr. Prior.

{Penny dog} (Zo["o]l.), a kind of shark found on the South coast of Britain: the tope.

{Penny father}, a penurious person; a niggard. [Obs.] --Robinson (More's Utopia).

{Penny grass} (Bot.), pennyroyal. [R.]

{Penny post}, a post carrying a letter for a penny; also, a mail carrier.

{Penny wise}, wise or prudent only in small matters; saving small sums while losing larger; -- used chiefly in the phrase, penny wise and pound foolish. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • penny-wise — [pen′ē wīz′] adj. careful or thrifty in regard to small matters penny wise and pound foolish careful or thrifty in small matters but careless or wasteful in major ones * * * pen·ny wise or pen·ny·wise (pĕnʹē wīz ) adj. Careful in dealing with… …   Universalium

  • penny-wise — [pen′ē wīz′] adj. careful or thrifty in regard to small matters penny wise and pound foolish careful or thrifty in small matters but careless or wasteful in major ones …   English World dictionary

  • penny wise — adjective 1. Careful at saving small sums, esp when careless in the saving of larger ones (pound foolish) 2. Niggardly on occasions when generosity is needed or expected • • • Main Entry: ↑penny …   Useful english dictionary

  • penny-wise — adjective Etymology: from the phrase penny wise and pound foolish Date: 1607 wise or prudent only in dealing with small sums or matters …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • penny wise — adjective careful to save small amounts of money. Phrases penny wise and pound foolish economical in small matters but extravagant in large ones …   English new terms dictionary

  • penny-wise — /ˈpɛni waɪz/ (say penee wuyz) adjective thrifty in regard to small sums. {from the adage penny wise and pound foolish thrifty in small expenditures while wasteful in large ones} …   Australian English dictionary

  • penny-wise — capable or wise in dealing with small money matters or other small issues …   English contemporary dictionary

  • penny-wise — adjective Thrifty in regards to small amounts of money …   Wiktionary

  • penny-wise — adjective thrifty in small matters only • Similar to: ↑thrifty …   Useful english dictionary

  • penny-wise and/but pound-foolish — careful about small amounts of money but not about large amounts used especially to describe something that is done to save a small amount of money now but that will cost a large amount of money in the future The administration s plans to cut fu …   Useful english dictionary

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