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Wow: Truepenny

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

What is Truepenny?

Does it mean something is made out of pennies? Not quite! Truepenny is a noun that means someone who is honest and trustworthy! You may not hear it used every day, but this word actually has a long history.

The first known use of truepenny dates all the way back to the middle of the 16th century from Nicholas Udal, a schoolmaster and playwright. It’s been used by literary authors as a homage to William Shakespeare’s usage in Hamlet. When Marcellus and Horatio enter, the ghost cries from the cellar below for them to swear that they will never share what Hamlet is about to tell them. Hamlet shouts to his father, “Art thou there, truepenny?”

Truepenny is a term of affection. It compares an honest and trustworthy person to a genuine coin. But aren’t pennies only worth one cent? Yes! However, in good ol’ Shakespeare’s days, pennies were made of silver, and actually considered valuable! Considering a truepenny has value, a person who displays the definition of truepenny in their character is someone who adds value to whatever it is they do.

Today’s Takeaway:

What makes someone honest and trustworthy, a truepenny that is? Honesty is always telling the truth, no matter if there are consequences that come with the truth. Trust is small promises kept. Even if something seems insignificant, it’s still important to come through on what you say you’re going to do!


Parting Challenge...

Keep track of your small promises this week. Are you keeping them? Are you being honest when you don’t?


Continuing the Conversation...

Here are a few questions to reflect on this week.

  1. Who do you know who’s honest and trustworthy? When was the last time they really came through for you?

  2. What’s the hardest truth you’ve had to be honest about? It’s tough telling the truth sometimes, but honesty is always the best policy!

  3. Do your friends consider you to be a truepenny? Ask them and find out the truth!

  4. Take a moment to recognize any people in your life that are considered a truepenny and show them some appreciation for their honesty and trustworthiness!

Like us on Facebook or Instagram, and checkout our Pinterest board for some more great ideas and this week’s word. Share this post with a friend and don't forget to check out our other Words of the Week.

The Auto-B-Good 9-Virtues SEL program features 63 award-winning animated lessons that help students develop good character and become rising stars. To learn more about this great resource, visit us at

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