If you happen to live in Canada you likely have heard that today marks the demise of our ‘penny’, our one-cent piece. Apparently businesses will no longer be giving out pennies as change; rather they will round your final bill up or down (not individual prices of items–just the final tally of all items purchased together), to the nearest nickle.
So this begs the question–what am I supposed to put in my penny loafers now? They just won’t be the same with a nickle stuck in them…or a loony or toonie (Canadian words for our one dollar and two dollar coins).
And what affect will the demise of the penny have on our vocabulary in Canada?
I’m so glad you asked that question, because I’ve compiled a short list of sayings that will no longer have any meaning to us here and will leave our future children and grandchildren scratching their collectives heads if they hear old grand-daddy or great auntie Mable blithering away at them with the following idioms:
- A penny saved is a penny earned.
- A penny for your thoughts.
- Look after your pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.
- See a penny, pick it up, and all day you’ll have good luck.
- A bad penny always turns up.
- Wow–that costs a pretty penny.
- My nephew Ralph is a bad penny.
- I’m so poor I don’t have two pennies to rub together.
- In for a penny, in for a pound.
- Don’t be such a penny pincher.
- This was just like pennies from heaven.
- I wouldn’t give you one red cent for that boat.
- My father didn’t want me to marry your dad so he cut me off without a penny.
And what will be used as description to replace the lowly penny in the other areas it turns up?
- Penny ante poker–usually a friendly game of poker where the stakes are very low.
- A penny whistle–this can also be called a tin whistle but that isn’t nearly as descriptive-sounding to me.
- Pennyweight–Wikipedia says that “A pennyweight (abbreviated dwt) is a unit of mass that is equal to 24 grains, 1⁄20 of a troy ounce, 1⁄240 of a troy pound, approximately 0.054857 avoirdupois ounce  and exactly 1.55517384grammes.” Who knew?
- Penny stock–my husband and I lost more than a few pennies on this type of stock a few years ago. Good riddance to that descriptive term, I say.
A couple more thoughts I want to add:
- I am so glad that my brother and sister-in-law’s dog, “Penny the Poodle” is in no danger of being ‘cashed in’ for “Nickle the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever” or “Dime the Dalmation”. Penny the Poodle is safe, for now. But if our government decides to eliminate all our small change she’d better be on her guard in case “Toonie the Terrier”, makes an appearance at her door!
- I have never been to visit Penny Lane in England, but it’s nice to know that it’s still there should the opportunity arise for me–not so sure about a ‘penny arcade’, though.
Well, that just about does it for now–I’ve given you my two cents worth but wonder if you have anything you’d like to add. Please drop me a note in the comment field and share your nickle’s worth with me.
PS–and don’t be a stranger.
- Goodbye Penny (modmissy.com)
- Obituary: The penny: 1876 – 2013 (lfpress.com)
- Canadian Pennies Are No More (newser.com)