Definition of penny ante in English:

penny ante


mass nounNorth American
  • 1Poker played for very small stakes.

    • ‘Frankly, I almost miss that kind of penny ante corruption from the Republican party.’
    • ‘The Canada-bashing was over penny ante dust-ups.’
    • ‘He delighted in working alongside ordinary employees and playing penny ante poker with them during breaks.’
    • ‘The pleasure of these sorts of articles comes not from laughing at the subjects' penny ante aspirations, or wincing at their foibles, but in the very real connection between them and the journalist.’
    • ‘More importantly, it sets the stage for a debt spiral that makes runaway credit card balances look like penny ante poker.’
    1. 1.1informal as modifier Petty; contemptible.
      ‘a penny-ante scandal of little substance’
      • ‘The cleaning bill for a single penny-ante lab starts at $3,500.’
      • ‘Then opportunity knocks when he and his penny-ante friends decide to go into the bookmaking business.’
      • ‘Law enforcement money is largely spent on violent crimes and high-dollar white-collar fraud, not the penny-ante stuff that tends to only disrupt, not destroy, the lives of citizens.’
      • ‘We were penny-ante criminals getting something for next to nothing.’
      • ‘Some penny-ante, dime-store masterminds think a team of three or four people is enough.’
      • ‘Besides, we're not interested in penny-ante crimes like that.’
      • ‘What it has evolved into is that people are doing alternative sentencing for every little penny-ante deal that comes down the pike, and a lot of that is legislatively mandated.’
      • ‘Years ago, my older brother tried to convince me that whenever he and his friends played penny-ante poker, a police raid was in the offing.’
      • ‘As you say, take away their penny-ante bridge club and they very well might start on us.’
      • ‘Over the years, penny-ante games were allowed to be played not only in people's homes, but also in mobile home parks and publicly-owned community centers.’
      unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, minor, of little account, of no account, of little consequence, of no consequence, of little importance, of no importance, not worth bothering about, not worth mentioning
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