Etymology
Advertisement

red cent (n.)

type of copper penny, 1839, American English, from red (adj.1) + cent. Pure copper pennies were issued 1793–1857, then replaced by ones of copper-nickel and, after 1864, bronze. The old cents were disused, but the phrase remained colloquial as a mere emphatic of cent, usually in the negative (don't have a ... not worth a ...). "Red" has been the color of copper, brass, and gold since ancient times.

updated on June 01, 2021

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of red cent from WordNet

red cent (n.)
something of little value;
not worth one red cent
Synonyms: damn / darn / hoot / shit / shucks / tinker's damn / tinker's dam
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.