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There are two possible origins for the phrase red cent, the first simply referring to the reddish hue of the copper used to mint the coin. The second possible meaning comes from the derogatory reference to Native Americans as Red Men, thus referring to the long-ago minted Indianhead penny. In time, people worked this term into the phrase not one red cent, meaning that they would not pay even a single penny. "I wouldn t pay one red cent for that."
Originally, this phrase referred to a ship that had run aground raising the vessel high enough out of water to strand it at least until high tide. Today, we use the phrase in reference to any instance where one person leaves another person stranded. "He left me high and dry at the airport this...