truepenny

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

truepenny (plural truepennies)

  1. (obsolete, sometimes capitalized) An honest, reliable fellow.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5:
      Hamlet: . . . Give me one poor request.
      Horatio: What is't, my lord? we will.
      Hamlet: Never make known what you have seen to-night. . . .Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
      Ghost: [Beneath] Swear.
      Hamlet: Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there, truepenny?
      Come on—you hear this fellow in the cellarage—
      Consent to swear.
    • 1820, Sir Walter Scott, The Monastery, ch. 14:
      "Ha!" said Christie, "art thou there, old Truepenny? here, stable me these steeds, and see them well bedded."
    • 1870, Wilkie Collins, Man and Wife, ch. 25:
      "Duncan! you are, what I call, a clear-minded man. Well worth thinking of, old Truepenny!"
    • 1916, Sherwood Anderson, Windy McPherson's Son, ch. 3:
      "Hear me, Father Almighty. . . . Are you there, old Truepenny?"
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

  • Not uncommonly used by literary authors as an echo of Shakespeare's usage in Hamlet, complete with the phrase Art thou there?.

References[edit]