One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The sum or value of nine pence, especially in British currency before decimalization.
2"as neat (also nice, right,etc.) as ninepence": (of an action) neat or brisk; (of a person or thing): tidy, healthy, well-ordered.
3British informal"ninepence in (also to) the shilling": below average, especially in intelligence; mentally slow. Also as noun: a person of low intelligence.
Early 16th century (in an earlier sense). From nine + pence.
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