Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.


as nice as ninepence

as nice as ninepence


  • A place that is very well organized.
  • Neat and tidy looking.
  • In good order and neat.

Example Sentences

  1. I was taken aback when I saw that this place is as nice as ninepence.
  2. She like to keep things in order, you should see her office it is as nice as ninepence.
  3. Bob’s home is as nice as ninepence ever since he has got married.

When playing Skittles the pins are set in a neat square. The ‘nine pins’ could have later changed to ‘ninepence’. James Howell used the phrase in his work in 1659 which gave the meaning of it to refer to money instead of the pins in Skittles. It was a list of phrases in use and hence the origin of the phrase stands to be even older. In the early 16th to the 17th century there was a ninepence coin that was in circulation but it is not clear how the ‘nice’ or ‘neat’ part got associated with it. In the 20th century the ‘as nice as ninepence’ phrase is the most popular one.

as smart as ninepins
as right as ninepence
as neat as ninepence
as clean as ninepence
as grand as ninepence

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