[ 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for dime a dozen


/ (daɪm) /


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 for dime

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

Word Origin and History for dime a dozen



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

Idioms and Phrases with dime a dozen (1 of 2)

dime a dozen

So plentiful as to be valueless. For example, Don't bother to buy one of these—they're a dime a dozen. The dime was declared the American ten-cent coin in 1786 by the Continental Congress. [First half of 1900s]

Idioms and Phrases with dime a dozen (2 of 2)


In addition to the idiom beginning with dime

  • dime a dozen

also see:

  • drop a dime
  • get off the dime
  • not worth a dime

on a dime.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.