a pretty 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

penny

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.

pretty penny, a

A considerable sum of money, as in That fur coat must have cost a pretty penny. [Early 1700s]
See also: pretty
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a pretty penny

INFORMAL
A pretty penny is a large amount of money. By the time it is ready for drinking, the value of the wine will have risen sufficiently to earn the investor a pretty penny. Buying a home can cost a pretty penny.
See also: penny, pretty
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a pretty penny

a large sum of money. informal
1989 Russell Banks Affliction You can probably get a pretty penny for that place in a year or two.
See also: penny, pretty
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a pretty ˈpenny

(old-fashioned) a lot of money: Have you seen the neighbour’s new car? That must have cost a pretty penny.
See also: penny, pretty
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

penny

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.

pretty penny

n. a sizable amount of money. This watch cost me a pretty penny, and I intend to take care of it.
See also: penny, pretty
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

pretty penny

A considerable sum of money: I paid a pretty penny for that ring.
See also: penny, pretty
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
His adventures begin when he makes two friends: a pretty penny named Betty and a wise quarter named George.
THE wa way and celebra by savi with o Rober n it's way to e than penny fer at THE warm weather is on it's way and what better way to celebrate the sunshine than by saving a pretty penny with our brilliant offer at Robert Dyas.
That's a pretty penny indeed - 15 million pennies for the asking price alone, not counting interest, taxes, the appliances, the utilities, the furniture, the repairs, the mop, the grass seed, the peg to hang your hat and all of that - all worth it, of course.
But with so many customers, BT must make a pretty penny from this rounding-up policy - and I believe it should be challenged.
A pretty penny that can be spent on Liverpool children.
As well as helping to save the planet we want to help people save a Pretty Penny too."
Rose was awarded a Toyota Tapestry Grant for nearly $10,000, all for her project--that's a pretty penny!