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Where did that phrase come from - My 2 cents worth
Stan St. Clair

A lot of people are more than willing to “speak their mind” about something whether we want to hear it or not. That is what is indicated by this common expression.

This is one of many phrases, however, having “no pat answer” as to what inspired it and who coined it. The earliest reference to two small coins is in the Bible in both the Gospels of Mark and Luke in the story told by Jesus about the poor widow who had only two “mites,” like our 2 cents today, to put in the Temple offering. Because this was all she had, Jesus stated that it was of more value than the great sums given by those with so much more money. This would indicate that one person’s “2 cents worth” may be of more importance than some “important” person’s opinion. It is possible that this premise is the basis of the saying.

The American phrase, “my 2 cents worth” is predated by the British one, “two pence worth,” but is more widely used today. Some believe that the idiom arose from a minimum ante into a poker game.

Others believe it is derived from the much older 16th century English phrase, “a penny for your thoughts” with 2 cents worth possibly indicating more than asked for.

The first known printed reference to the American saying was in The Olean Evening Times, (New York) in March 1926 and was written by Allene Sumner. The heading was: “My two cents’ worth.”

If you would like to know the origin of a favorite expression, text the author at 931-212-3303 or email him at stan@stclair.net.