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A Penny for your Thoughts

What does a Penny for your Thoughts mean?

It means: What are you thinking about?

Example of use: Steffany, you look very pleased today. A penny for your thought?

Interesting fact about A Penny for your Thoughts

The earliest written citation of the idiom “A penny for your thoughts” can be traced back to the 16th century. It is attributed to Sir Thomas More, who used a variation of it in his book “A Treatyce upon the last thynges” in 1534. In this context, the phrase means “Tell me what you are thinking”, with the implication that you’re willing to pay money to know what someone is actually thinking. Interestingly, the saying originated during a time when the British penny was worth a significant sum. In 1522, Sir Thomas More wrote in ‘Four Last Things’: "It often happeth, that the very face sheweth the mind walking a pilgrimage, in such wise that other folk sodainly say to them ‘a penny for your thought’". John Heywood’s book “The Proverbs of John Heywood”, first published in 1546, also contains a similar citation: "Fréend (quoth the good man) a penny for your thought".