Definition of earn (or turn) an honest penny in English:

earn (or turn) an honest penny


  • Earn money fairly.

    • ‘In his early years he also sold a variety of articles like accordions, concertinas and mouth-organs, costume accessories and polish - anything indeed which would turn an honest penny.’
    • ‘They are a prime example, having never earned an honest penny in their miserable lives.’
    • ‘The only offer he got was from a fellow-lodger, a young man who earned an honest penny by playing a tin whistle on the streets.’
    • ‘‘I regret that I did not publish them myself and turn an honest penny,’ he complained.’
    • ‘I very well could have kept turning an honest penny by teaching Greek philosophy.’
    • ‘Shakespeare, Scott, Austen etc were primarily concerned with turning an honest penny, and probably didn't care what the critics thought as long as the public bought the books or theatre tickets.’
    • ‘As a rule they were conducted by enterprising men who were not only anxious to turn an honest penny, but to serve the best interests of the people as well.’
    • ‘But she said nothing about Mrs. Moore, and I supposed she'd be the usual bustling country housewife who takes in boarders to earn an honest penny.’
    • ‘They apologised for being out at Christmas; they knew that Whitsun was the proper time, but work was slack and they thought there would be no harm in earning an honest penny.’
    • ‘However, it was his proud boast that he was seldom out of work and was prepared to do almost anything that would earn an honest penny.’