pretty penny



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pretty penny (plural pretty pennies)

  1. (idiomatic) A considerable amount of money; a high price or a high income.
    They could charge a pretty penny as they had a captive audience.
    • 1850, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis, ch. 75:
      We shall have our branch line—our shares are up, sir—and we buy your three fields along the Brawl, and put a pretty penny into your pocket, Mr. Pendennis.
    • 1921, John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga, part 1, ch. 6:
      He expected she was spending a pretty penny on dress.
    • 1991, Robert Wyatt and Alfreda Benge, "Shrinkrap" on Dondestan album,
      It costs a pretty penny
      Just to stay afloat.
      It takes a lot of lolly
      Trying to be jolly.
    • 2007 April 30, Barbara Kiviat, "Stephen Schwarzman," Time:
      Schwarzman's firm makes a pretty penny in a number of finance fields.

Usage notesEdit

Usually used with the indefinite article: "a pretty penny".