cent vs penny

boggiee

Senior Member
Turkish
Hi,

I've been searching on the forum for the difference between 'cent' and 'penny' but could not find any. I also read lots of things on the net and so am feeling so confused.

Could you tell me the difference between the two?
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Have you looked in our WR Dictionary?

    cent: a coin that is the smallest unit of money of the U.S., equal to 1⁄100 of a dollar; a unit of money of various other nations equal to 1⁄100 of the basic currency.

    penny: a unit of money of different nations, as Australia, Canada, and the U.S., a coin equal to 1⁄100 of a dollar;

    I believe 'cent' is the official name of the coin, but they are the same thing.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    In ordinary use in Canada and the U.S., a cent is an amount of money. A penny is a coin worth one cent.
    We no longer use pennies (i.e. one-cent coins) in Canada.

    This fruit costs 95 cents. :tick:
    This fruit costs 95 pennies. :cross:
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    While "cent" is 1/100 of a dollar in countries such as the US where dollars are the unit of currency, a "penny" (more usually found in the plural as "pence") is still in everyday use in the UK as 1/100 of a pound. :)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    cent: a coin that is the smallest unit of money of the U.S.

    That seems very odd to me. I would be surprised if many (any?) people in the U.S. considered a cent as the name of a coin. Like Hildy says, a penny is a coin, a cent is a value (1 of which is the value of a penny). Who wrote that definition?

    This fruit costs 95 cents. :tick:
    This fruit costs 95 pennies.
    :cross:

    I have 95 pennies in my pocket.
    (95 coins)
    I have 95 cents in my pocket.
    (However many coins I have add up to 95 cents. I could have as few as 4 and as many as 95 coins.)
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    It's worth noting that "cent" is Latin in origin, related to the word for one hundred, while "penny" is Germanic, related to German "Pfennig" and Dutch "penning" (which origins are of more obscure meaning). I suspect when the US Founding Fathers were setting up the currency system in the late 18th century, they wanted to distance themselves from the English, so they might have gone with the French. I could be wrong.

    Thomas Jefferson was something of a philologist (a student of the history of language) and he probably would have known the difference.

    "Penny" does seem to get a lot of popular and informal use, in my view.
     
    Last edited:

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    That seems very odd to me. I would be surprised if many (any?) people in the U.S. considered a cent as the name of a coin.
    According to the US Mint it's a one-cent coin. And back in my coin-collecting days I heard "Lincoln cent" and "Indian head cent" much more often than either variety of "penny."
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    one-cent coin

    That makes sense. But a cent standing alone is not a coin.

    Pick up that penny. :thumbsup:
    Pick up that cent. :thumbsdown:
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    And the cents of the Australian currency etc are not called pennies either.

    However, occasionally people might use the term vaguely to refer to small change, regardless of the currency used, 'a few pennies in the pocket'. (In the same way, people might say 'he had a bob or two' even though bobs or shillings are not used.)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    We say "Penny wise, pound foolish" and no one alive has ever spent a pound as legal currency in the U.S. :)
     
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