Definition of cent in US English:



  • 1A monetary unit of the US, Canada, and various other countries, equal to one hundredth of a dollar, euro, or other decimal currency unit.

    • ‘How many cents equal one dollar is not something that is subject to fluctuations.’
    • ‘Second, they implausibly erase much of the cost by assuming the Kerry plan would so increase efficiency that taxpayers would get back 30 cents of every dollar spent.’
    • ‘A cheating dealer will cheat anybody he wants to, whether the person is betting fifty cents or five hundred dollars.’
    • ‘Even vaudeville theaters ranged in price between ten cents and a dollar in the 1890s, and they attracted thousands of working-class visitors each year.’
    • ‘A liquor pour cost of 18.3%, for example, means that it cost a little more than 18 cents to generate a dollar of liquor sales.’
    • ‘Despite US labor laws, it is not uncommon to hear reports of women being paid 50 cents or a dollar an hour and, in other cases, forced to work for years with no pay at all.’
    • ‘On the money markets, the US dollar recovered almost 1 cent against the euro to close at $1.0780 against $1.09 two days ago.’
    • ‘Housing continued as the most significant item of household expenditure, accounting for 24 cents in every dollar spent in 2000-01.’
    • ‘I know of a girl working for nine dollars and fifty cents an hour.’
    • ‘There are still a lot of bankrupt assets out there that are selling for 5 cents to 15 cents on the dollar.’
    • ‘At the same time, the dollar traded near 88.5 cents against the euro, its lowest level since 17 May.’
    • ‘And it's a cool job, I only work part time, I make seven dollars and five cents the hour and the tips are good.’
    • ‘Just in case our foreign readers aren't sure how stiff a penalty that is, at press time, 100 baht was equal to 2 US dollars and 33 cents.’
    • ‘Let us assume that on average individuals spend 90 cents and save 10 cents of each additional dollar they receive.’
    • ‘Currently, 92 cents of every dollar spent on conservation payments to farmers is for their retiring environmentally sensitive land from production.’
    • ‘Currently, less than 36 cents in every dollar spent on nursing facilities is spent directly on care.’
    • ‘Currently, he said, California gets 77 cents back from each dollar it sends to Washington.’
    • ‘Even so, the imbalance does not alter the economic rule that 3 cents to 5 cents of each dollar of sustained wealth will be spent, helping to boost overall demand.’
    • ‘The loans are expected to sell for anywhere between 3 cents and 20 cents to the dollar.’
    • ‘She'd given the restaurant all she had in her purse, a grand total of twenty-seven dollars and thirty six cents, the last dollar and thirty-six cents in pennies and nickels.’
    1. 1.1informal A small sum of money.
      ‘she saved every cent possible’
      • ‘Most Americans are dead set against cruelty to animals on factory farms and the concomitant devastation of the environment, even if it were to save them a few cents at the market.’
      • ‘We fail to understand the huge difference, and everyone is going to save that few extra cents wherever possible.’
      • ‘Ambitious youngsters in Kentucky used to earn a few cents of spending money by harvesting and selling poke greens.’
      • ‘If you are wanting every cent of your money to go straight to the grassroots, you may wish to consider the following group.’
      • ‘I will ensure that every single cent of money is spent on the project for which it was intended.’
      • ‘One of the rare African America hedge fund managers, Bill Thomason says he likes to assess company management face-to-face before committing a cent of his money.’
      • ‘Every cent of this money is being spent on those that need it.’
      • ‘Every cent helps, and we're even accepting Canadian Tire money.’
      • ‘He said although the provincial Treasury would love to save every cent possible, traffic policing, emergency vehicles and police visibility during this time of the year were a priority.’
      • ‘Every cent of that money should be spent for a good reason, especially in a time of budget difficulties, as a matter of public interest.’
      • ‘Inexpensive ones tend to shed, causing much more grief that the few cents you save are worth.’
      • ‘Save some cents by using dark-brown shadow you probably already have stashed in your makeup bag.’
      • ‘It's the perception that I'm probably saving a few cents in the long run.’
      • ‘Essentially, it's not illegal to go to Cuba; it's just illegal to spend a cent of U.S. money there.’
      • ‘And if people are coming to McDonald's for a particular taste, they are not going to go to Wendy's or Burger King to save a few cents.’
      • ‘I can invest every cent of taxpayers' money in waste facilities, but that alone will not solve the problem.’
      • ‘This amounted to theft on an unprecedented scale, the Papuans said, since they would see barely a cent of the money raised.’
      • ‘To ensure that cash flow and productivity gains aren't blown away by stormy conditions, tight-fisted managers are squeezing value out of every cent.’
    2. 1.2informal with negative Used for emphasis to denote any money at all.
      ‘he hadn't yet earned a cent’
      • ‘The slot machines have been a huge hit, but Charles swears he hasn't kept a cent of the money they've made.’
      • ‘After all, given the Parliamentary taxpayer funded work that they have done in the past, I think we deserve an assurance that not one cent of taxpayer money went into the website.’
      • ‘Mr John Browne essentially accepted the point regarding Baltimore Harbour, and gave us another promise, but no money - not a cent!’
      • ‘I didn't pocket a single cent of taxpayers' money.’
      • ‘In total, the US government is spending 625,000 for each of the 2,400 competitors at the Salt Lake City Games - and not a cent of that money will go to any of the athletes.’
      • ‘Protests were led by many of New Zealand's top players, none of whom takes a cent in appearance money for their national open.’
      • ‘We don't have so much as a cent of Rethan money, we don't hold a particular office in the hierarchy of this world, and we don't have information that could be used by someone else.’
      • ‘Regarding the financing of the venture, he said not a cent of taxpayers' money went into the Kruger Park.’
      • ‘More humiliating, still, is the fact that Ralston doesn't save a cent by demoting him.’
      • ‘‘Not one cent of taxpayers money has been used in any other than the most proper ethical and moral way,’ he told reporters.’
      • ‘If film-makers want to make a truly skewed picture, Feds is thankfully offering us a chance not to have to waste a single cent of our hard-earned money on it.’
      • ‘Antiabortion groups are against the use of both, and so far, not a cent of federal money has been spent on embryonic stem cell research.’
      • ‘Not one cent of this money, I assure you, has gone for anything serious.’
      • ‘It asked for not one cent of provincial money, and in fact was required to pay a ‘negative subsidy’ of some $30 million a year to the province.’
      • ‘He claims he will not pay a single cent of money to the Samsas, and perhaps may even call the authorities and file claims against them.’
      • ‘I can't save a cent after paying boarding fees and for meals.’
      • ‘When she did he told her that Chris had signed the papers but he wasn't going to give her a cent of his money but he did want to see her one last time before they went their separate ways for good.’
      • ‘The coffers were bare, with not a solitary cent left to rattle around them but money could, if absolutely necessary, be plucked from somewhere.’
      • ‘He died this year, aged around 80, without ever seeing a cent of pension money.’
      • ‘In other words, one sentence after asserting that Boswell had ‘not taken a cent of public money,’ she observes that he lived daily on public money.’
  • 2Music
    One hundredth of a half step.

    • ‘The closest intervals to an equal- tempered, 100-cent half-step are 63 cents or 177.’
    • ‘In a melodic half step, no "tendency was perceived of the lower tone toward the ... and diatonic semitones are 76.0490 and 117.108 cents wide respectively.’
    • ‘What strikes me as absurd is that the UK and other countries are only too happy to allow big employers move previously good paying jobs from their home countries to Eastern Europe for a few cents on the euro but heavens no, don't let those eastern Europeans come to the west.’
    • ‘Subsidy levels will be equivalent to 20 cents per litre of pure ethanol for two years, 15 cents per litre for three years and 10 cents per litre for three years.’
    • ‘Geraldton motorists are now paying an average of 103.4 cents a litre for unleaded fuel - more than 4 cents more than two weeks ago.’
    • ‘This proposal defines an easier micro tuning that sets offsets from an equal-tempered half-step by the cent.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘a hundred’): from French cent, Italian cento, or Latin centum ‘hundred’.