a bad penny always turns up
- The proverb, also used allusively in simile and metaphor (see quot. 1766), refers to the predictable, and usually unwelcome, return of a disreputable or prodigal person after some absence.
1766 A. ADAMS in L. H. Butterfield et al. Adams Family Correspondence (1963) I. 55 Like a bad penny it returnd, to me again.
1824 SCOTT Redgauntlet II. ii. Bring back Darsie? little doubt of that—the bad shilling is sure enough to come back again.
1884 R. H. THORPE Fenton Family iii. Just like as not he’ll be coming back one of these days, when he’s least wanted. A bad penny is sure to return.
1922 JOYCE Ulysses 149 Who’s dead, when and what did he die of? Turn up like a bad penny.
1941 A. UPDEGRAFF Hills look Down vi. ‘I miss Bart.’ ‘Oh, a bad penny always turns up again.’
1979 G. MITCHELL Mudflats of Dead iii. ‘Stop worrying. The bad pennies always turn up.’ ‘Oh, Adrian, I don’t think she’s a bad penny, not really.’
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a bad penny always turns up — ► a bad penny always turns up proverb someone or something unwelcome will always reappear. Main Entry: ↑penny … English terms dictionary
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turn up like a bad penny — informal if someone who you do not like turns up like a bad penny, they always seem to appear in situations where you do not want them Tom was the bad penny that always turned up … English dictionary
penny — ► NOUN (pl. pennies (for separate coins); pence (for a sum of money)) 1) a British bronze coin worth one hundredth of a pound. 2) a former British coin worth one twelfth of a shilling and 240th of a pound. 3) N. Amer. informal a one cent coin. ●… … English terms dictionary
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