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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." I'm sure we haven't seen the last of your conniving cousin—a bad penny always comes back, after all. You can always count on Luke to turn up like a bad penny and make everything worse.
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. That bracelet she bought on a whim today sure cost a pretty penny—she must be loaded.
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. © 2022 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 ?
NOW, you turn around and QUICKLY pick up each penny. You will KNOW which one was chosen!
Some organizations have already moved to banish the penny on a small scale.
Edith Matthai, Penny's attorney said Penny and his family were on a vacation in Tennessee when he was arrested.
At around 18 months old, Penny was also diagnosed with Dandy-Walker syndrome, a congenital brain malformation involving the cerebellum - an area at the back of the brain that controls movement - and the fluid filled spaces around it.
That man, as a boy in short pants, could have had a nice treat in a sweet shop with my Indian Head penny, this penny already two decades old in his childhood.
A pretty penny is a lot of money; pennies from heaven bring unexpected but welcome financial benefits; by looking after the pennies you will look after the pounds and show yourself to be someone who can concentrate on saving small amounts to lead to larger sums; and in for a penny in for a pound represents wholehearted commitment to something.
I don't think I've seen a penny rescued from a gutter, even by a kid, since Gary Hart was running for president.
Penny has no desire for dying and Me-Me's portrayal of heaven does not sound all that heavenly for her granddaughter.
The Penny Lane Timeline Course has already completed two of its four sessions, but anyone interested can still attend this Wednesday and the following Wednesday at 70 Penny Lane (3pm to 4pm).
It now actually costs the Mint more than a penny to make a penny.
Leeds is the author of Invest in Penny Stock, publisher of the world famous Peter Leeds penny stock newsletter (over 35,000 subscriptions sold), and pubic investing speaker.
On considering the big rip-off with decimalisation in 1971 and the present proposal to discontinue the use of the current penny coin, with the rising costs of living and our involvement with the Common Market and Europe, I am wondering when we will be getting rid of the pounds 1 coin too, as it will be worth so little.
Mint 2.4 cents to make each penny. Producing 7 billion of them each year results in a loss of nearly $100 million.