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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Halfpenny, n. Also: halfpeny, -pennie, -penney, -penne, halfepene, halpen(n)y, -penne, halpane, happenny. Plur. -pen(n)eis, -pennis. [e.m.E. happenny, ME. halpeny, pl. halpens (1382), halfpenny (c 1330), OE. healf-peniᵹ.] A halfpenny; the (orig. silver) coin of this value; this sum of money. Also attrib. with candill, lafe, man. 14.. Acts I. 306/2.
Of a dussane of lokkys [a duty of] a half penny
Ib. 27/2.
The mersar … sal geyf a halpeny … for custum
1438 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart 48.
Thre halfe peneis of borow male yerely
1451 Acts II. 39/2.
At thar be strikin … half grote, penny, half penny & farding
1467 Ib. 88/2.
The quhyt scottis penny and half penny to haif cours as thaj war wont to haue
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. l. 53/12.
The wedow … that gaf twa halpenneis in offerand
1536 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 79.
Ilk seruand sall pay his wkly halfpenny to the wphalding of devyne seruice
a1500 Peblis to Play 113.
Ilk man tua and ane happenie
Ib. 225.
Thre happennis for half ane day
a1578 Pitsc. I. 267/24.
A glied half penney
1591 R. Bruce Serm. 252.
They had rather lose their souls ane hundred times or they wared ane halfpennie upon the Kirk
attrib. 14.. Acts I. 312/2.
The halfpeny lafe … sal wey sex markys evyn
1541 Elgin Rec. I. 65.
The penny candill [to] contene xviii inchis in lenth … and sicklike the halpane candill ix inchis
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 94.
To Wille Goldsmyth [a royal moneyer] callit Halpenny man … iij vnicornis

b. Halfpenny-land, a piece of land valued at a halfpenny. (Cf. Farding- and Penny-land.) 1455 Rec. Earld. Orkney 190.
A half penny lande
1480 Reg. Great S. 310/1.
The halfpennyland that Finlaw Johnestoun [etc.] … duellis in
1482–3 Rec. Earld. Orkney 194.
A half penny land lyand in Wasbuster
1492 Dunferm. B. Rec. 38.
The qwhilk reuercione is of the halfpenne land of Dursdeir
1569 Events Q. Mary & Jas. VI 39.
I haif nevir gottin paiment of the halpeny landis of Carrick sen my office of the chalmerlanrie
1609 Argyll Rentals MS. 9 Oct.
Donald Mcphetris occupyer of ane half penny land

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"Halfpenny n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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