penny dropped, the

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penny dropped, the

One finally catches on to something. The term alludes to old-time machines in which one deposited a penny to obtain a piece of candy, which one received after the penny dropped all the way down. Dating from the 1950s, it is used more in Britain than in the United States but is still current. Alexander McCall Smith used it in The Right Attitude to Rain (2006): “I think he realises now that she’s never going to come back to him. It’s taken a long time, but the penny has finally dropped.”
See also: penny
References in periodicals archive ?
Until, again, the penny dropped. Mr X looked accusingly down at his fidgeting daughter, whose reddening cheeks confirmed his suspicions.
"It took a bit for her to adjust then the penny dropped, winning five of her last eight handicaps.
Then the penny dropped. Stevi Ritchie and Chloe Jasmine from last year's X Factor were on.
Then suddenly the penny dropped and people realised it was post-modern irony at its most effective."
Then the penny dropped. "Yes" I replied, "You're a descendant of Saint Catherine of Siena!" He smiled, nodded and answered, "Yes, you're right!" It's a small world!
Dalglish smelt a rat before the penny dropped - Wick was in fact USA Ryder Cup star Brad Faxon.
"But it wasn't until I saw the 'fingers' on its wings, and its white wing markings, that the penny dropped.
'Heirloom': A penny dropped / a hundred years ago / turns up beneath / our sweetheart cabbage // but Love, we are still / out for spring roots, / honeyed wets / and their vanished tracks.
"The penny dropped in the final furlong and he just took off.
Before the penny dropped, Teresa was on the floor with a bullet wound as the boyfriend-from-hell was gunned down.
He looked green enough when slow to start but plenty of credit is due to the way he made up lost ground before powering clear in the final furlong once the penny dropped.
The penny dropped a few years ago for a number of reasons.
And then the penny dropped. Hmmm, I said to myself this morning, I wonder who represents the Thunder Bay riding, anyway?
But Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: 'The penny dropped when he drove off and then the police arrived.'
The red thread that runs through all is "coming to believe." In the preceding, Easter, account (20:1-18) we are told of two cases where "the light went on and the penny dropped": the beloved disciple, upon seeing the empty grave wrappings (but before understanding the testimony of the Scriptures), in v.