Definition of centavo in US English:



  • A monetary unit of Mexico, Brazil, and certain other countries (including Portugal until the introduction of the euro), equal to one hundredth of the basic unit.

    • ‘The figure is based on an average price increase of 1.66 dollars a barrel for oil and the depreciation of the peso by 33 centavos in the last quarter of 1999, according to the group.’
    • ‘Importers will pay about 8 centavos more to acquire dollars.’
    • ‘Shares of Metro Pacific, which have been listed on the Philippine stock exchange since May 1990, soared to a 3-year high of 63 centavos on September 8, almost triple its low of 24 centavos on June 16.’
    • ‘The latest price rise in October saw the cost of fuel jump by 30 centavos a litre.’
    • ‘An old man, ‘nothing but skin and bones’, offers to carry the young man's suitcase for 30 centavos.’
    • ‘The strike comes after months of demonstrations and protests over the government's deregulation of the oil industry, which has allowed oil companies to increase petroleum prices by 55 centavos to P1.50 per gallon.’
    • ‘This meant that every time my tyres developed a puncture or went a bit flat - roughly once a day - I had to find a mechanic's workshop, and pay forty centavos for a quick top-up of air.’
    • ‘Twenty-five centavos is less than two American pennies.’
    • ‘I don't want to give one centavo extra to the postal service,’ I told the employee, a pleasant enough person who probably understands better than I do what a mess that post office and the entire system are.’
    • ‘A kilogram of the most sought after commodity - white office paper - sells for 15 centavos.’
    • ‘Back then, each ride cost between sixty centavos and one Boliviano and could take anything from ten to forty minutes, depending on the traffic and other passengers.’
    • ‘In Mexico we only pay centavos for such small bunches.’


Spanish and Portuguese, from Latin centum ‘a hundred’.