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..
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:

pretty penny

Informal. A large sum of money:
Informal: bundle, tidy sum, wad.
Slang: pile.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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." He laughed with an air of the greatest good humour as he said this.
"It must have cost you a pretty penny. It's lucky you can afford it."
First and last, this wedding would cost a pretty penny. Two ladies were strolling up and down the garden terrace, and as the syllables "Imperialism" were wafted to his ears, he guessed that one of them was his aunt.
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. Sister Pullet has got one like it."
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!
he most expensive house on sale in the Black Country has dropped its asking price - but would still set you back a pretty penny.
DOWN: 1 Offbeat 2 Earthier 3 Leah 4 Obedient 5 Fair 6 Aside 8 Pretty penny 13 Pictured 14 Crescent 15 Legends 18 Halve 20 Jury 21 Coax.
The festivities involved going from one happening joint to another (see the accompanying photo of the card) and would have cost a pretty penny.