Definition of dime in English:



North American
  • 1A ten-cent coin.

    • ‘It has separate pouches for pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters.’
    • ‘Here we have ten coins: pennies, nickels, and dimes.’
    • ‘And then she came and sat with me, next to a reflection pool that had been emptied of water, but whose cement floor was scattered with pennies and dimes turned blue from chlorine.’
    • ‘Using the same group of coins, help your child make a pile of pennies to equal a nickel, nickels to equal a dime, and so on.’
    • ‘She's more fond of pennies and dimes than quarters.’
    • ‘Now bring something else to the community or stop asking us to spend our hard earned pennies, nickels and dimes to buy this type of trash.’
    • ‘For the change-making task, three quarters, seven dimes, and seven nickels are placed in front of the patient, who then is asked to provide one dollar in change.’
    • ‘You have five quarters, two nickels, three dimes and a penny in your pocket.’
    • ‘Then try alternating pennies and dimes and see what happens.’
    • ‘The woman's face fell as Anne counted out exact change from her mass of nickels, dimes, pennies, and quarters.’
    • ‘If Jimmy saves 4 dimes in his piggy bank every day, how many dimes will he save in five days?’
    • ‘Pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters were carefully counted.’
    • ‘She began digging through her cracked plastic coin purse, slapping quarters and dimes on the counter.’
    • ‘My son collects my change - the random coins that come from little daily transactions, the pennies, nickels and dimes that build up in my pockets.’
    • ‘People often count change by grouping pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, a tendency indicating that, without practice, working memory can deal with only one item at a time.’
    • ‘The first day he had poured out his accumulated pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters onto the table in front of his sister, his face had beamed with pride at his contribution.’
    • ‘Staring down into it you could see the shiny bronze pennies and silver dimes lying at the bottom.’
    • ‘Instead of replacing the popular dime with another coin, it's also possible to see whether the addition of a fifth coin would help.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the nickels, dimes, pennies, and quarters started flying.’
    • ‘I supposed it was good that he'd paid because I only had a loonie and a dime in my pocket.’
    1. 1.1informal A small amount of money.
      ‘he didn't have a dime’
      • ‘I'm an outsider, un-American for not contributing a dime to the $40-billion-a-year diet industry.’
      • ‘Even if you never spend a dime of the reserve, the tax savings on your contributions ensure you'll be no worse off than if you hadn't enrolled.’
      • ‘He stops speaking to May and refuses to contribute a dime to her education.’
      • ‘Without a dime of government money we are turning thousands of people per month into independent homeowners.’
      • ‘Not a dime of the money stays where it nominally is.’
      • ‘The hub deal especially contrasts with the down-and-dirty business of having to bet a billion dollars on a vehicle program that may never produce a dime of profits.’
      • ‘‘This has been a large front-end expenditure for us before we even see a dime of revenues from the settlement,’ he says.’
      • ‘They hardly spent a dime, whereas I spent money so fast, I almost ran out of credit cards.’
      • ‘That's a lot of loot for a pair of companies that have yet to make a dime in profits.’
      • ‘Sure, he got his contingency fee, but the families wouldn't have gotten a dime without his help, and in many cases, they would need millions to care for their chronically ill children.’
      • ‘The two things people need to keep in mind is that we are talking small amounts of money and you cannot afford to lose a dime.’
      • ‘Inspectors have the right to pop any locks (and you won't get a dime in compensation; they're allowed to do it by law).’
      • ‘After all, no matter who goes first overall or who slides into the second half of the first round, you're not going to see a dime of that money, and neither am I.’
      • ‘Any money goes to people who previously bought the stock for pennies; the company doesn't get a dime.’
      • ‘We bought our house by borrowing $100,000 from his parents' retirement fund and have not paid back a dime - another nightmare.’
      • ‘But its minority investors never saw a dime in profit.’
      • ‘He figured that he might as well live till the whole sham is over, this way he won't have to spend a dime of his new found, hard earned money.’
      • ‘Why did so many investors put so much money behind so many companies that had never made a dime?’
      • ‘The exact economics may be beyond me, but I suspect neither one of us will be saving a dime on this tax cut.’
      • ‘The vast majority of dot-coms will never see a dime of profits.’


  • a dime a dozen

    • informal Very common and of no particular value.

      ‘experts in this field are a dime a dozen’
      • ‘Ideas are a dime a dozen, but great execution is priceless.’
      • ‘Now they are a dime a dozen - available at malls and departmental grocery shops, with prices ranging from Rs 100 onwards for miniature versions.’
      • ‘Opinions of the economy's fate are a dime a dozen.’
      • ‘If they weren't so hard to come by, they'd be a dime a dozen.’
      • ‘His kind are now a dime a dozen in our legislatures.’
      • ‘Tales like these are a dime a dozen, and all have one thing in common: I don't want to hear them.’
      • ‘Handsome, dedicated and dangerous young men were a dime a dozen in Ireland, and his frequently dismissive treatment of women didn't help.’
      • ‘Enablers are a dime a dozen for alcoholics and junkies.’
      • ‘But the passion of idiot youth will have it's way, and such scenes are a dime a dozen; I was prepared to ignore it for the duration.’
      • ‘Then, while planning his career, he decided upon fitness training because engineers were a dime a dozen.’
      tedious, dull, monotonous
      View synonyms
  • drop a (or the) dime on someone

    • informal Inform on someone.

      • ‘Even if they didn't reveal your identities up front, once the substance of the complaint becomes clear, he is bound to know who dropped the dime on him.’
      • ‘We also wish to thank the kindred spirit who dropped the dime on him.’
      • ‘I believe that he is one of the senior administration officials who dropped the dime on her.’
      • ‘He would eventually hit the 619 out of no where, then dropped the dime on him for the pinfall victory.’
      • ‘What will ultimately happen to the teenage high school student is still up in the air, but the fact of the matter is that he confessed to the crime after being turned in, and those who dropped dime on him did so for the reward money.’
  • get off the dime

    • informal Be decisive and show initiative.

      • ‘I am not getting any younger, and I need to move on if he's never going to get off the dime.’
      • ‘There's just no reason for people to really get off the dime and start doing heavy business spending just now.’
      • ‘Tell him that whenever he feels like getting off the dime, you will be more than happy to discuss the new developments - and maybe a new name.’
      • ‘One more thing, there was a poll, I can't remember - and I don't think we ought to do this by polls, but 71 percent of the American people say get off the dime.’
      • ‘I really think we're going to be getting off the dime here.’
      • ‘Apparently wracked with indecision, the Supreme Judicial Court needs to get off the dime and render a verdict in same-sex marriage in the commonwealth.’
      • ‘I share a lot of the criticism for the police, I think they were very slow in getting off the dime.’
      • ‘My generation learned that if we wanted to accomplish anything, we would have to get off the dime.’
      • ‘Corporate backers of privatization are urging the Administration to get off the dime.’
      • ‘I wish people would understand that, and I wish this jury would really get off the dime and start deliberating a little more conscientiously and get this thing finished with.’
  • on a dime

    • informal Used to refer to a manoeuvre that can be performed within a small area or short distance.

      ‘boats that can turn on a dime’
      • ‘I don't know what happened first, the insult or the swing, but months of training now meant that I could spin on a dime and hit a ball across an ocean if I had to.’
      • ‘The last couple of years has seen the series shift to arcade-style action, but the new momentum-based skating could spell an end to skaters stopping and turning on a dime.’
      • ‘The Fed Chairman, of course, turned his fiscal rectitude on a dime as soon as the Republicans regained control of the Treasury.’
      • ‘He runs beautiful, precision short routes and can cut on a dime.’
      • ‘Like a battleship, book publishing doesn't turn on a dime, so the old year's trends don't usually determine a new year's books.’
      • ‘Well, you know, this investigation has turned on a dime.’
      • ‘Yes, you've got to hand it to these guys - they can turn on a dime.’
      • ‘You have to be able to turn on a dime when something's not working.’
      • ‘Yes, I know a 60-year-old approach to foreign policy can't turn on a dime.’
      • ‘He has one of those riding mowers that turns on a dime.’


Late Middle English: from Old French disme, from Latin decima pars tenth part. The word originally denoted a tithe or tenth part; the modern sense ‘ten cent coin’ dates from the late 18th century.