halfpenny

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the Middle English halpenī, either from the late-Old English hal-penige or from half +‎ penī; equivalent to half +‎ penny and continually reinforced by that surface analysis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈheɪpəni/ or IPA(key): /ˈheɪpni/
  • (file)
    direct, non-slang pronunciation without reduction

Noun[edit]

halfpenny (plural halfpennies or halfpence)

  1. (plural: halfpennies) (historical) A discontinued British coin worth half of one penny (old or new).
    • Christmas is coming (traditional carol)
      If you haven't got a penny, / A ha'penny will do, / If you haven't got a ha'penny, / Then God bless you.
  2. (plural: halfpence) A quantity of money worth half a penny.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, As You Like It (act III, scene 2)
      There were none principal; they were all like one another as halfpence are; every one fault seeming monstrous till his fellow fault came to match it.
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
      "If a pound of mutton-candles cost sevenpence-halfpenny, how much must Dobbin cost?"

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

halfpenny (not comparable)

  1. Costing or worth one halfpenny.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 2 (act IV, scene 2)
      There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer.