no more than ninepence in the shilling

no more than ninepence in the shilling

obsolete Having no or little intelligence or common sense. Primarily heard in UK. The fool, who is no more than ninepence in the shilling, took the natives' aggressive overtures as being an enthusiastic greeting to the colonists.
See also: more, ninepence, no, shilling

no more than ninepence in the shilling

of low intelligence. dated
Since the decimalization of the British coinage, this phrase has gradually fallen out of use, but there are numerous other humorous variations on the theme of someone not possessing their proper share of brains or intelligence, for example a sandwich short of a picnic (see sandwich).
See also: more, ninepence, no, shilling