the penny drops(redirected from penny dropped)
the penny drops
One finally understands, realizes, or recognizes something. Typically used in the past tense. When Liam drew the diagram, the penny dropped, and everything became clear to me.
the penny dropsmainly BRITISH
COMMON If the penny drops, someone finally understands or realizes something. In the end the penny dropped. That was why she sent us back. It's only recently the penny's begun to drop that, actually, the new job is probably better than the other one. Note: This expression probably refers to slot machines (= machines for playing games), which only operate when you put in a coin.
the penny dropssomeone finally realizes or understands something. informal, chiefly British
The image here is of the operation of a coin-operated slot machine.
the ˌpenny ˈdrops(informal, especially British English) suddenly understand the meaning or significance of something: She never understands jokes. It usually takes about half an hour for the penny to drop. ♢ There was a long silence on the stage, and then the penny finally dropped — it was my turn to speak.
This is a comparison with the way a machine starts after a coin is inserted.