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[siks-puh ns] /ˈsɪks pəns/
noun, plural sixpence, sixpences for 2.
(used with a singular or plural verb) British. a sum of six pennies.
(used with a singular verb) a cupronickel coin of the United Kingdom, the half of a shilling, formerly equal to six pennies: equal to two and one-half new pence after decimalization in 1971.
Origin of sixpence
1350-1400; Middle English sexe pans. See six, pence Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sixpence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nineteen and sixpence is the price of a return-ticket which covers a month.

    The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
  • There were nine half-pennies, three pennies, a threepenny bit and a sixpence.

    An Australian Lassie Lilian Turner
  • The countryman pays the sixpence, and straightway opens the purse, but he does not find the sixpence therein.

    Nasby in Exile David R. Locke
  • I enclose a postal-order for sixpence, to see you through the rest of the term.

    Once a Week Alan Alexander Milne
  • The full price for a hundred copies of The Joy-bell at sixpence a copy will be, of course, fifty shillings.

    The Palace Beautiful L. T. Meade
  • It was so sure enough: a Queen Ans sixpence of that very date.

    Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush William Makepeace Thackeray
  • I gave the girls all the pennies I hadthen I offered Sam, who had crept out of the shelter of the table, a sixpence.

    The White Peacock D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • The baker does not live who can afford to give ten for sixpence.

  • “Keep the sixpence, my boy,” said the man, and away went John.

    Curiosities of Impecuniosity H. G. Somerville
British Dictionary definitions for sixpence


a small British cupronickel coin with a face value of six pennies, worth 21/2 (new) pence, not minted since 1970
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 sixpence

late 14c., "sum of six pennies," from six + pence. As a specific British coin, from 1590s. Sixpenny (adj.) had a figurative sense "paltry, cheap, petty, worthless" by 1560s; sixpenny nails (early 15c.) cost so much per hundred.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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