- a bronze coin of the U.S., the 100th part of a U.S. dollar: made of steel during part of 1943. Symbol: ¢
- the 100th part of the monetary units of various other nations, including Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, New Zealand, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda.
- a monetary unit of certain European Union countries, the 100th part of a euro.
- a monetary unit of American Samoa, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brunei, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United States, the Vatican City, the Virgin Islands, and Zimbabwe. It is worth one hundredth of their respective standard units
- an interval of pitch between two frequencies f 2 and f 1 equal to 3986.31 log (f 2 / f 1); one twelve-hundredth of the interval between two frequencies having the ratio 1:2 (an octave)
late 14c., from Latin centum “hundred” (see hundred). Middle English meaning was “one hundred,” but it shifted 17c. to “hundredth part” under influence of percent. Chosen in this sense in 1786 as a name for a U.S. currency unit by Continental Congress. The word first was suggested by Robert Morris in 1782 under a different currency plan. Before the cent, Revolutionary and colonial dollars were reckoned in ninetieths, based on the exchange rate of Pennsylvania money and Spanish coin.
see for two cents; not worth a dime (red cent); put in one’s two cents.