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Old English feorðung "quarter of a penny," a diminutive derivative of feorða "fourth" (from feower "four") + -ing "fractional part." Cognate with Old Frisian fiardeng, Middle Low German verdink, Old Norse fjordhungr.
Used in biblical translation of Latin quadrans "quarter of a denarius;" the English coin (of silver until 17c., later of copper or bronze), first was minted under Edward I and abolished 1961.
I shall geat a fart of a dead man as soone As a farthyng of him. [Heywood, "Proverbs," 1562]
(1.) Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6. Greek assarion, i.e., a small _as_, which was a Roman coin equal to a tenth of a denarius or drachma, nearly equal to a halfpenny of our money. (2.) Matt. 5:26; Mark 12:42 (Gr. kodrantes), the quadrant, the fourth of an _as_, equal to two lepta, mites. The lepton (mite) was the very smallest copper coin.