pretty penny

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pen·ny 1

n. pl. pen·nies
1. In the United States and Canada, the coin that is worth one cent.
2. pl. pence (pĕns)
a. Abbr. p. A coin used in Great Britain since 1971, worth 1/100 of a pound. Also called new penny.
b. Abbr. d. A coin formerly used in Great Britain, worth 1/12 of a shilling or 1/240 of a pound.
c. A coin formerly used in the Republic of Ireland, worth 1/100 of a pound.
d. A coin used in various dependent territories of the United Kingdom.
3. Any of various coins of small denomination.
4. A sum of money.
pretty penny
A considerable sum of money: I paid a pretty penny for that ring.

[Middle English, an English coin, from Old English penig.]

pen·ny 2

n. pl. pen·nies
Variant of pinny..
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pretty penny

Informal. A large sum of money:
Informal: bundle, tidy sum, wad.
Slang: pile.
References in classic literature ?
Nevertheless," I said, "this room must have cost a pretty penny.
This lot'll cost the insurance people a pretty penny before everything's settled.
First and last, this wedding would cost a pretty penny.
It seems it's not the first; well then, it's the second; and blythe am I to ken it, for it should be a pretty penny in my pocket and the pockets of my friends.
If the salt were not dissolved, and could be brought to market, it would fetch a pretty penny among the fishermen.
Tulliver, "for everything's as nice as can be all over the house, and that watered silk she had on cost a pretty penny.
One of these regiments of irregular horse is the thing for us; you spent part of your pretty penny on horse-flesh, I believe, and you remember how I rode in the bush
Ticketmaster make a pretty penny every time a ticket is sold.
Yet despite the lack of roving crowds hunting for virtual creatures, the AR game app is still bringing in a pretty penny for its makers.
Cab companies make more money because of the lack of competition, but they have to pay a pretty penny for the ability to operate: hundreds of thousands of dollars per transferable permit in most major cities, and up to $1 million in New York City.
The couple turned a pretty penny on the three-bedroom property they bought in 2000 for $365,000.
Whether the kids are in need of a whole new uniform or maybe their gym kit needs an upgrade - this is just the offer you need to save yourself a pretty penny.