I'd like to recall that there's an expression along the lines of "coin dropping down" used to described the moment when an explainee finally reaches the verge of grasping a concept after the explainer tediously has gone through the pains of presenting a multitude of examples, approaches and pedagogical tricks.

Googling it gave me no hits and searching on SO for "coin" resulted in way too many. None of that was of relevance, though.

Can I use the following phrase in correct English to describe that I'm trying to explain a bit more because I see that the subject is about to get the "aha moment"?

I was about to give up but I felt that the coin was about to drop down.

  • 2
    See this Jan 19, 2014 at 12:32
  • @StoneyB I believe that's the correct answer. Post it as so, please, and I'll check it as the accepted one. Jan 19, 2014 at 12:35

3 Answers 3


The expression is The Penny Drops. You could write:

I was about to give up but I felt that the penny was about to drop.

  • It's unusual that the idiom is used to anticipate a mental "unblocking". It's normally said after the person has understood the problem e.g., I was about to give up, when the penny finally dropped
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 5, 2015 at 18:23

You could use a variant of

"... when it finally clicked."


What you are describing is an epiphany:

a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way

In your phrase:

I was about to give up but I felt that an epiphany was about to happen.

  • I'd say that epiphany is a more profound realization of a deeper truth. I was looking rather for a more common, down-to-earth expression. It seems to that aha moment and epiphany are quite far apart. What's your take on it? I'm thinking oh, I am in love with her is an epiphany while oh, tupac not two-pack is rather a penny dropping... Oct 2, 2015 at 18:41

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