not have a red cent(redirected from they do not have a red cent)
not have a red cent
To be extremely poor; to have very little or no money to spend. During college, when I didn't have a red cent, I survived off of ramen noodles for months at a time. They used to be so well off, but the economy crashed and their business closed, and they don't have a red cent anymore.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
not have a red ˈcent(American English, informal) have no money at all: I wish I could come with you, but I don’t have a red cent at the moment. OPPOSITE: (be) rolling in it/money
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
red cent, not worth/don't have a
Worthless; bankrupt or broke. The cent has long been the lowest denomination of American coin, and “red” refers to the fact that it used to be made of copper. The expression dates from the early nineteenth century. J. S. Jones used it in People’s Lawyer (ca. 1839): “It would not have cost you a red cent.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer