Definition of sixpence in English:



  • 1A coin worth six old pence (21/2 p), withdrawn in 1980.

    • ‘In a leather purse was a £5 note, some small notes, and a number of shillings and sixpences above the value of £10.’
    • ‘In 1980, the government announced the withdrawal of the sixpence coin on June 30th.’
    • ‘Many of the older people in the town, including myself, have memories of the 1950s, when the New Towns Commission decided to increase rents by two shillings and sixpence per week.’
    • ‘As it was pirated, so the price crept up, ninepence, one shilling, one shilling and sixpence, half-a-crown, and then it came out in instalments.’
    • ‘He was paid three shillings and sixpence a week - equivalent to just over 18 pence in today's terms.’
    • ‘Mr Harold Boardman, Labour MP for Leigh, is to ask the Secretary to the Treasury on Tuesday whether he is aware of the inconvenience caused in the Manchester district due to the shortage of sixpences and shillings.’
    • ‘Lesley and I were in the school orchestra together in Bury in the days of sixpences and Herman's Hermits.’
    • ‘Haig separated half-crowns, sixpences and other redundant coins out of the pile, then he began to sort the rest into £1 units.’
    • ‘The rent was only three shillings and sixpence a week, and a further three shillings and sixpence for a week's breakfasts.’
    • ‘In the spirit of the time, a whip-round was carried out and I was soon clutching a fist-full of pennies and ha'pennies to make up my sixpence.’
    • ‘And six coins were recovered including a florin, a sixpence, two pennies and two half pennies.’
    • ‘In very little time my order arrived in a small plastic container and I paid the shilling and sixpence that the meal cost.’
    • ‘Each Monday we took our thruppences and sixpences to school, where for an hour or so the teachers acted as unpaid bank tellers while they entered our weekly savings into our little bank books.’
    • ‘Alfred gets nineteen shillings and sixpence for a full week.’
    • ‘The meters have universal slots which allow the use of tickeys, sixpences and shillings.’
    • ‘Best known as the maker of the state's first coinage, issuing shillings, sixpence, and threepence silver coins in 1783, Chalmers's marked domestic silver is exceedingly rare.’
    • ‘Tea Coffee and other refreshments were always ready and a good meal could be had for one shilling and sixpence.’
    • ‘Back when I was a kid we used to put pennies, thruppences, sixpences, and shillings in our money boxes.’
    • ‘In 1949, lunch cost seven shillings and sixpence - or 37 pence.’
    • ‘Regarding the purchasing power of a shilling it is a remarkable fact that in 1939 a sixpence would purchase a glass of beer, a packet of Woodbines and a box of matches and leave a halfpenny change.’
    1. 1.1 The sum of six pence, especially before decimalization (1971).


  • on a sixpence

    • informal Used to refer to a manoeuvre that can be performed by a moving vehicle or person within a small area or short distance.

      ‘the car stops on a sixpence’
      • ‘Helped by the variable pitched props, he showed that he could turn it on a sixpence.’
      • ‘He turns on a sixpence and belts the ball towards goal.’
      • ‘This tank-like thing was almost impossible to drive and I had to follow the camera car, stop on a sixpence and act at the same time.’
      • ‘The steering is beefy, the turn-in very sharp, the brakes can stop you on a sixpence, and the acceleration is just mind blowing.’
      • ‘Trained to turn on a sixpence, these elite dancers are at once quick and mercurial, plastic and realistic, then gracefully classical.’
      • ‘It can turn on a sixpence and go anywhere: up and down kerbs, across pavements, squeezing between bollards at a gentle walking pace.’
      • ‘He spins on a sixpence and curls a creamer just wide of the post.’
      • ‘Triumph engineers believed that women were unable to park or manoeuvre in tight spaces and so the car had to be able to turn on a sixpence.’
      • ‘No doubt they will teach me how to be graceful on the snow, how to slalom with the best of them and how to stop on a sixpence.’
      • ‘A cross from Mark Bower fell to him and the striker turned on a sixpence and fired in an unstoppable shot.’