pretty penny

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.

cost an arm and a leg/a pretty penny, to

Excessively expensive, exorbitant. The first phrase is American in origin and dates from the mid-twentieth century. The source is obvious: giving up an arm and a leg to buy something is clearly too costly. The use of “pretty” to mean considerable in amount was originally British and is now archaic except in a few well-worn phrases like this one, a cliché since the late nineteenth century. It was common throughout the eighteenth century, and crossed the Atlantic as well (“The captain might still make a pretty penny,” Bret Harte, Maruja, 1885). A similar term was a fine penny, now obsolete.
See also: an, and, arm, cost, leg, pretty, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
And with those odds she would have made a pretty penny, depending on how much she bet in the first place.
Goring Two (2.10), most unlikely to be inconvenienced by a step down in trip judged on the manner in which he has travelled in two recent Plumpton races, is another who could start short, so let's focus on Pretty Penny (3.40), potentially a much more attractive punting proposition at a far bigger price, in the 3m2f handicap chase.
Devon Kinch's PRETTY PENNY SETS UP SHOP (9780375867354, $16.99) tells how Penny is learning to become penny-wise in the process of throwing a surprise birthday party for her grandma.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The cockerel and five hens could fetch a pretty penny at local markets in the area, where they are likely to be sold for show purposes, rather than for the pot."
We all know footie fans are a passionate bunch, often prepared to pay a small fortune to follow their team, and memorabilia signed by their heroes can sell for a pretty penny.
Aardman Animations said they hoped Pretty Penny, designed in the same way as the famous duo, will encourage the public to become more energy efficient.
His facelift was done for free in March 1987 but still cost his owners a pretty penny.
According to an Environment Agency report, the county has 38 of the 50 worst rivers in Wales in terms of pollution from mines, some of which used to make a pretty penny for 17th century royalty.
He is going to donate his bonus to Ivar for getting a late equaliserAccording to boss Steve Coppell a get-out-of--jail- free card costs a pretty penny for Reading players
Some mutual fund executives made a pretty penny. For example, the board chairman of Strong Mutual Funds, Richard Strong, was caught trading within his own funds in ways that benefited him and his friends and family.
The five-year-old, who cost a pretty penny as a yearling in America, was a bargain 14,500 guineas as a three-year-old.
Yes, it's going to cost a pretty penny to junk the remodeling plans at all 707 of the chain's stores, but why bother fighting a battle that is already lost?