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[dahym] /daɪm/
a cupronickel-clad coin of the U.S. and Canada, the 10th part of a dollar, equal to 10 cents.
  1. ten dollars.
  2. a 10-year prison sentence.
  3. dime bag.
a dime a dozen, Informal. so abundant that the value has decreased; readily available.
Origin of dime
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French di(s)me < Latin decima tenth part, tithe, noun use of feminine of decimus tenth, derivative of decem ten Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dime
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were mostly Beadle's dime Novels, which had a great sale at the time.

  • I won't be back for dinner, so you can put in your time reading my dime Novels.

  • Josie was offering him a dime; he accepted it without question.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • "The hell with you," Danny said to Mattup, and gave him a dime and a penny.

    Goodbye, Dead Man! Tom W. Harris
  • Why do you stand there starin' at me as if I was some sort of dime show curiosity?

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for dime


a coin of the US and Canada, worth one tenth of a dollar or ten cents
a dime a dozen, very cheap or common
Word Origin
C14: from Old French disme, from Latin decimus tenth, from decem ten
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dime

chosen 1786 as name for U.S. 10 cent coin, from dime "a tenth, tithe" (late 14c.), from Old French disme (Modern French dîme) "a tenth part," from Latin decima (pars) "tenth (part)," from decem "ten" (see ten).

The verb meaning "to inform" (on someone) is 1960s, from the then-cost of a pay phone call. A dime a dozen "almost worthless" first recorded 1930. Phrase stop on a dime attested by 1954 (a dime being the physically smallest unit of U.S. currency).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dime



  1. A ten-year prison sentence (1960s+ Underworld)
  2. A thousand dollars, esp as a bet (1960s+ Gambling)


(also drop a dime) To inform on someone; sing, squeal: Frankie would have been okay if somebody hadn't dimed on him (1960s+ Underworld & prison)

Related Terms

five-and-ten, get off the dime, nickel and dime, on someone's dime, stop on a dime, a thin dime, turn on a dime

[verb sense from the dime dropped into the pay telephone for the call to the police]

dime bag

n phr,n

Ten dollars' worth of a narcotic (1960s+ Narcotics)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with dime


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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