Encyclopedia > Penny

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A penny is a unit of currency.

A penny is:

  • a division of the British pound sterling, 100 pence = 1 pound
  • a division of the British pound sterling prior to 15 February 1971, 12 pence = 1 shilling, 20 shillings = 1 pound
  • the common name for a one-cent piece in the United States and Canada.

The plural of "penny" is "pence" when referring to a quantity of money and "pennies" when referring to a number of coins. Thus a coin worth five times as much as one penny is worth five pence, but it is not five pennies, since "five pennies" means five coins each of which is a penny. In the USA, "penny" is normally used only to refer to the coin; the quantity of money is a "cent". A coin worth five times as much as a penny is worth "five cents".

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