penny wise and pound foolish

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the British currency (one penny being 1/100th of a pound or, prior to decimalisation, 1/240th of a pound)

Alternative forms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

penny wise and pound foolish (not generally comparable, comparative more penny wise and pound foolish, superlative most penny wise and pound foolish)

  1. (idiomatic) Prudent and thrifty with small amounts of money, but wasteful and profligate with large amounts.
    • 1942, Harry Elmer Barnes, Society in Transition: Problems of a Changing Age‎, page 122:
      In the past our government has nowhere been more penny wise and pound foolish than in connection with its expenditures for conservation.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]