Definition of Peter's pence in US English:

Peter's pence

plural noun

  • 1historical An annual tax of one penny from every English householder having land of a certain value, paid to the papal see at Rome from Anglo-Saxon times until it was discontinued in 1534 after Henry VIII's break with Rome.

    • ‘William the Conqueror refused homage to the Pope but promised that Peter's Pence should be paid.’
  • 2A voluntary payment by Roman Catholics to the papal treasury, made since 1860.

    • ‘The monsignor said that in 2006 Peter's Pence aided "victims of war and natural disasters, displaced persons and migrants, as well as to nascent dioceses, Catholic educational centers, scholarships, orphans of genocide, war, or of AIDS in Africa.’
    • ‘Some parishes do not take a separate collection for Peter's Pence but just give a percent of the single collection from last Sunday.’


Named after St Peter, the first pope (see Peter, St).


Peter's pence

/ˌpidərz ˈpɛns//ˌpēdərz ˈpens/