Definition of penny ante in US English:

penny ante


North American
  • 1Poker played for very small stakes.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Frankly, I almost miss that kind of penny ante corruption from the Republican party.’
    • ‘He delighted in working alongside ordinary employees and playing penny ante poker with them during breaks.’
    • ‘More importantly, it sets the stage for a debt spiral that makes runaway credit card balances look like penny ante poker.’
    • ‘The Canada-bashing was over penny ante dust-ups.’
    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.’
      • ‘Some penny-ante, dime-store masterminds think a team of three or four people is enough.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Besides, we're not interested in penny-ante crimes like that.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As you say, take away their penny-ante bridge club and they very well might start on us.’
      • ‘Then opportunity knocks when he and his penny-ante friends decide to go into the bookmaking business.’
      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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