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[hey-puh-nee, heyp-nee] /ˈheɪ pə ni, ˈheɪp ni/
noun, plural halfpennies for 1; halfpence
[hey-puh ns] /ˈheɪ pəns/ (Show IPA),
for 2.
a bronze coin of the United Kingdom, equal to half a penny: use phased out in 1984.
the sum of half a penny.
of the price or value of a halfpenny.
of little value; worthless:
a halfpenny matter.
British Informal. (of newspapers) sensational, especially morbidly or offensively so.
Origin of halfpenny
1225-75; Middle English halfpeny, halpeny. See half, penny Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for halfpenny
Historical Examples
  • I had not a halfpenny in the world, and nothing that I could possibly sell to raise the money.

    Sheilah McLeod Guy Boothby
  • Now, she no longer gave a halfpenny; she worked off the amount solely by the washing.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • A shilling changes masters more frequently than a guinea, and a halfpenny more frequently than a shilling.

  • He had not gone twenty yards when he found a halfpenny lying on the grass.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • It may here be mentioned that the practice of collecting letters by the sound of bell did not cease with the halfpenny carriage.

  • After "astonishing the natives" with various tricks, he asked the loan of a halfpenny.

    The Jest Book Mark Lemon
  • She, too, was said to be eccentric, but that was only because she was fond of getting full value for a halfpenny.

    By Violence John Trevena
  • Brother Merry gave him a third quarter of the loaf, and the third halfpenny.

  • Three days afterwards there came a scrubby little roll of paper, with a halfpenny stamp on it.

  • halfpenny Hole lay in the bottom of a slope seven miles from Dilborough.

    If Winter Don't Barry Pain
British Dictionary definitions for halfpenny


/ˈheɪpnɪ; for sense 1 ˈhɑːfˌpɛnɪ/
Also called half, (pl) -pennies. a small British coin worth half a new penny, withdrawn from circulation in 1985
(pl) -pennies. an old British coin worth half an old penny
(pl) -pence. the sum represented by half a penny
(pl) -pence. something of negligible value
(modifier) having the value or price of a halfpenny
(modifier) of negligible value
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for halfpenny

mid-13c. (though implied in Old English healfpenigwurð "halfpenny-worth"); see half + penny.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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