Bad Penny

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20 comments on this post.
  1. rebecca:

    I love this type of information – how lovely it is available on the internet. “Why we say it” – a favorite book – doesn’t have everything!

  2. Badpennypress:

    It is like you’re a cashier trying both not to take excesse Canada’s quarters and trying to get rid of canadian quarters out of your drawer that customers passed off as many as they can in the us. They are used interchangeably but are not usually worth exactly the same.
    so they keep coming back
    lake canadian quarters

  3. David Sowd:

    What a wonderful, thorough explanation. I agree with Rebecca — you’re doing great work with this site!

  4. Wndndrsn:

    Sayings from my past I rarely hear.

  5. Isasater:

    Dear Word Detective,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the time, energy and obvious enthusiasum you put into this site. I could spend hours and hours reading and enjoying your work.
    Again, thank you, thank you thank you.

  6. Dominic:

    That’s a great explanation. I just heard the expression used on the TV show Frisky Dingo. That show, and another show called Archer, both have really great idiom.

  7. Carol:

    Often heard in my growing-up years. British imperial currency was used in New Zealand before changing to metric dollars and cents, when the proverbial penny had many a last chance. It was too big for use as counters in BINGO games.

  8. Carol:

    Change over day was 10th of July 1967. Then just another beaten out ‘bent penny’, would no longer fit the slot. Even for a phone call!

  9. What's up with this site using the BHW name?:

    […] is "shoemoney". Bad penny is old school for someone that keeps showing up unwelcome. Here is about the last time I heard of Shoemoney; when he thought he was bad-ass and was going to […]

  10. adele:

    Will Smith just used the term “bad penny” in Hitch which brought me to this informative site. Thank you! I have heard the expression and just read your detailed explanation to my 25 year old daughter who had never heard “bad penny”. Very very interesting!

  11. Kuntina:

    I always wondered. Thanks.

  12. Echo:

    i’m 59 and have heard this expression all my life and really never gave it a thought. but today the thought popped into my head,”Hmmm? I wonder where that came from/started out?”
    thank you so much for your explanation! i don’t imagine that tracking down the origin of something like this is easy? so thank you again for not only digging this up but also for sharing it!

  13. Balancing Your Work/Life Balance | Enroll In Your Life:

    […] back to normal.  But those long, busy days will return.  They always do.  Like a bad penny (whatever that means).  And when they do, I need to remember that my job is not my life.  It’s a part of it, and an […]

  14. brian marsom:

    Thankyou- WD- I agree with previous replies- you are an inspiration and that dearly is passed on-
    Your comments will help with my research for a short story competition- The story is based on a real character who used to tell us boys in the Wesley Boys Home in Mt. Albert, Auckland NZ-a story about The Bad Penny.
    Just wish I could remeber the stories but will daydream on it- Tten get on with the task- Thanks mate.

    regards BRIAN

  15. Like a Bad Penny… | Sued51's Blog:

    […] know what they say about a “bad penny”? You don’t? I had to look it up as I was writing this. Not sure it fits exactly, because it is not turning up multiple times, unwanted…but this […]

  16. Mike B:

    People can be looked at as “bad pennies.” A trouble makers, does inappropriate things or behaviors.

  17. Thomas Moore Todaro:

    I’m 52 and have been using this phrase literally for decades. But, it’s really funny for me (inside joke) because I am an avid collector of old U.S. error coins, particularly old pennies. So, the phrase really does roll outta my mouth several times a month. LOL!!!

  18. R Den Green:

    Thank you, Mr. Morris/TWD, for this marvelous website and information. It certainly enriches our lives to know the history of the words, idioms, and colloquialisms we use.

  19. Kevin:

    Dear Word Detective,
    I had heard the term ‘a bad penny always comes back,’ or ‘a bad penny always turns up,’ many times and had often wondered where the term ‘bad penny’ came from. Many thanks for your incredible answer. I have bookmarked this brilliant website. Thank you!

  20. Marie:

    Thank you, I can now answer my mother and my daughter about this one! I thought it might have something to do with dead bodies and the coins on the eyes to hold the lids down in the old days…. I’m not morbid…. I’m just say’ in. Thanks again!

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