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a bad penny

A person with no value. Typically used in the proverb "A bad penny always turns up." A: "I don't think we'll see Todd again now that he's been disgraced at work." B: "You never know—a bad penny always turns up."
See also: bad, penny

a pretty penny

A large amount of money. A fancy car like that costs a pretty penny, so I definitely can't afford it! Wow, Alex must have paid a pretty penny for a house in a gated community.
See also: penny, pretty


informal The sum of one's available money. I didn't have a penny back in college. I survived off of rice, beans, and plain pasta for weeks at a time. We put every penny we had into this business. I don't know what we'll do if it doesn't succeed.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


n. a police officer. (A play on copper. See the note at copper.) The penny over on the corner told the boys to get moving.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
That should be a definite help to all the young cashiers who have trouble with simple addition and subtraction, and stand at the register spellbound if you try to pay them a little extra in order to get an even amount back, so you don't need to collect more unwanted pennies or nickels.
"We don't want to see our pennies and nickels melted down so a few individuals can take advantage of the American taxpayer."
Add four pennies to the top of the stack so that they cover the taped part of the rubber band.
The coins were inspected and weighed daily; photographs and roentgenograms were taken of the pennies at the start and end of the experiment.
Students also can donate pennies directly to WWF at Coinstar [c] machines located in supermarkets.
Parishioners would collect and save their pennies all week and during the Penny Song, the young people would collect them as an offering towards the building fund.
Swallowed pennies that don't pass out in the stool within two days may cause problems.
"We had always thought pennies were innocuous visitors [to a child's gastrointestinal tract]," O'Hara explains.
Pennies are now worth so little that people often don't pick them up off the street, despite the lucky-penny adage.
Since many people don't bother to use the coin, roughly $1 billion worth of pennies are out of circulation.
Pennies, their detractors say, are a nuisance - one of them won't buy anything; a penny can't even be used in a parking meter.
Each of 10,000 recipients sends an acknowledgement e-mail back, so that the list then receives 10,000 pennies.
1,000 pennies * container large enough to hold the pennies * graph paper * pencil * ruler
Collecting pennies to buy food for others is one way to share with the broader community.
Would a few pennies from heaven make your dream come true?