Definition of bad penny in English:

bad penny

noun

  • A penny which is debased or counterfeit. In later use chiefly in the proverb "a bad penny always returns (also turns up)", and (now especially) in similative or figurative use in allusion to this, with reference to the predictable, and often unwanted, return of a disreputable or prodigal person after some absence, or (more generally) to the continual recurrence of someone or something.

Origin

Late Middle English; earliest use found in William Langland (c1325–c1390), poet. From bad + penny.

Pronunciation

bad penny

/ˌbad ˈpɛni/