Definition of death penny in English:

death penny

noun

  • 1Greek Mythology an obol placed in the mouth of a corpse, with which to pay the ferryman in Hades.

  • 2Each of two pennies placed on the eyelids of a corpse to keep them closed.

Origin

Mid 18th century; earliest use found in William Maitland (c1693–1757), historian and topographer.