Penny wise and pound foolish

Posted by ESC on September 10, 2003

In Reply to: Penny wise and pound foolish posted by Priya on September 10, 2003

: : Hi! My phrase of the day is: Penny wise and pound foolish. Can you please tell me what that means, and, perhaps, the origin as well...

: : Thank you,
: : Sax

: The meaning of the phrase is something on the line of "saving a little money only to lose a great deal more due to their own stupidity."

PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH - "Overcareful about trivial things and undercareful about important ones. The literal image is of the person who fusses over small amounts of money to such an extent that he misses opportunities to save or make large amounts. But the figurative image goes way back; in 'The Historie of Foure-footed Beastes' Edward Topsell wrote: 'If by covetousnesse or negligence, one withdraw from them their ordinary foode, he shall be penny wise, and pound foolish.'" From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).