Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dime n.

[SAmE dime, ten cents]

1. (US) in drug uses.

(a) $10 worth of a given drug; also attrib.

[US]C.B. Chrysler White Slavery 45: ‘Say, Bell, you know that little red-headed quim that boards over at Scar Face Annie’s. She took a dime’s worth last night.’ [...] When they speak of ‘a dime’s worth’ they mean morphine.
[US]Rigney & Smith Real Bohemia xx: The purchases are made in cash: an ace ($1) [...] nickel ($5), dime.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 43: Sell me and Clearhead a dime paper.
[US]Boogie Down Productions ‘Illegal Business’ 🎵 [of marijuana] It was freezin cold, he was standing on the block / Sellin cheeba, nick’s and dimes.
[US]UGK ‘Pocket Full of Stones’ 🎵 When I first started back in 1989 / I wasn’t movin keys I barely movin dimes.
[US]50 Cent ‘Wanksta’ 🎵 Right now we on the grind / To hurry up and cop and go we sellin nick’s and dimes.
[US]Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 12: I got heroin [....] One dime is all.
[US]T. Swerdlow Straight Dope [ebook] She spits a small green balloon out of her mouth that looks a dime but might be a twenty.

(b) crack cocaine.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 7: Dime — Crack Cocaine.

(c) $10 worth of crack cocaine; $10 worth of marijuana.

[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 149: ‘Dimes?’ I ask with weak hope.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 7: Dime — [...] $10 worth of crack.
[US]T.I. ‘Doin My Job’ 🎵 Always stuck in the grind, summertime to wintertime / Cutting school to sell fifty dimes by dinner time.

2. (US prison) a ten-year prison sentence; a period of ten years.

implied in dime store n.
[US] ‘Konky Mohair’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 105: No doubt he was informed on. / You can bet he had to do that dime.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 19: Guy did a dime — in the labor camps.
[US]J. Ellroy Blood on the Moon 76: ‘Richard, you're looking at a dime minimum this time. Ten bullets. You think you can handle that?’.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 68: Many with comparable crimes did a dime. In those days, and in most places around the world, ten years is a long time to serve in prison.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 74: In a fucking dime you’ll wake up with a hard-on for some guy’s hairy ass just because he’s wearing lipstick.
[US]J. Stahl Pain Killers 367: A dime in Q and a batch of SS tats might be worth a little something.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 284: [W]e book shithead for Rape 1 and mayhem. he’ll do a doomsday dime.

3. (US) the number ten, often as $10.

[US]C. Himes ‘The Night’s for Cryin’’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 133: ‘Dar’s uh green sedan up front, uh fo’ do’ job. Latch on it ‘n earn dis dime, big dime’.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 81: dime [...] Ten dollars, as in ‘sell me a dime bag’.
[US]O. Hawkins Ghetto Sketches 59: Take this one! Gimme a dime! And git on!
[US](con. 1950) B. Helgeland L.A. Confidential [film script] I need an extra fifty. Two patrolmen at twenty apiece and a dime for the watch commander at Hollywood Station.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 114: If Boo wants to try them down at Ramsay and Stricker, they [i.e. crack vials] could go for dimes.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 33: A friend of a friend of mine, some whale bets ten dimes a day.

4. (gambling) $1,000; $10,000.

[US]G. Mayer Bookie 201: ‘You know if there’s over $5,000 in action here, this is a felony rap.’ [...] Since I had more than five dimes bet on the White Sox-Tiger second game, I didn’t comment.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Lessons’ Wire ser. 1 ep. 8 [TV script] There’s a dime on this cocksucker’s head.

5. (US black/campus, also dime piece) a very attractive person [they score ‘a perfect ten’ i.e. out of ten].

Nice & Smooth ‘Do Whatcha Gotta’ 🎵 Bag me a dime piece dressed in pink.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 3: dime – extremely good-looking male or female: ‘Chris Webber is the dime of my dreams’.
[US]Big L ‘Ebonics’ 🎵 If your girl is fine, she’s a dime.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 3: dime piece – stylishly dressed female. [Ibid.] 5: in dime mode – all dressed up.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 2: dime/dime piece – very attractive female.
[US]Nasir Jones ‘Remember the Times’ 🎵 Remember the times I hung with the dimes, remember the times I fucked a few.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. 2011.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 27: You know you ain’t no dime on the streets. Hell you aint even average!
[US]C. Eble UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2016.

In compounds

dime bag (n.) (also dime sack) [bag n.1 (7a)]

1. (US drugs) $10 worth of a drug.

[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 81: dime [...] Ten dollars, as in ‘sell me a dime bag’.
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 8: I might’ve had one or two dime bags once or twice, but I just snort them.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 339: bag: A unit of drug sale on the street level. A dime bag of marijuana, for example, is ten dollars’ worth.
[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool 42: I could get this done [...] for a goddam dime bag of rock.
Notorious BIG ‘Gimme the Loot’ 🎵 I’m all that and a dime sack, where the paper at?
Soopafly ‘Everyday’ 🎵 Smoke a quarter or a half, fuck a cheap dime sack.
[US]A. Mansbach ‘Crown Heist’ in Brooklyn Noir 125: [of marijuana] All Laz’s customers were dime-bag-and-bike-peddling yardmen.
[US]T. Dorsey Atomic Lobster 104: ‘What the hell do you want with that stupid TV?’ ‘Hock it. Good for a dime bag.’.
[SA]Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 24 Sept. 🌐 When you’re selling half a nickel bag for the price of two dime bags, you’re gonna make some cash.
Schoolboy Q ‘6 Foot 7’ 🎵 You live in a district of dimebags and dummys.
[US]J. Stahl OG Dad 95: A guy who would, in his former life, have tried to steal the [Cannes red] carpet and trade it for a dime bag.

2. attrib., of a dealer, low in the drug-selling hierarchy.

[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 237: They be robbing connections. Not street-corner nickel-dime-bag mo-fuckers. Heavyweights, righteous importers.
[US]F. Bill Donnybrook [ebook] But this man had presence, something tougher than that greasy-haired dime bag dealer.
dime piece (n.)

see sense 5 above.

dime store (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

double dime (n.) (US)

20 years.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 47: He’s been the brass nuts here for a double dime. [Ibid.] 51: In the last ‘double dime’ he has croaked two white cons and four ‘spades’ .

SE in slang uses

In compounds

dime-ass (adj.)

(US black) worthless, contemptible.

[US]T. Weesner Car Thief (1973) 78: I hang that dimeass mother! Shoot! Hang his ass!
dime dropper (n.) [drop a dime ]

(US) an informer.

[US] in N.Y. Post 24 Aug. 30: Words like [...] ‘dime-dropper’ don’t show up on middle class-oriented intelligence tests [HDAS].
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 33: rat fink – [...] dime dropper.
[US]Current Sl. V:3.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 246: He knew the punishment for welshers and dime-droppers.
[US] 30 Nov. 🌐 But police say locating the dime-dropper is a non-issue. 🌐 Sheriff Joe Arpaio uses the term ‘Dime Dropper’ toward persons (employees and citizens) that contact the media and provide them with concerns that happen within the Sheriff’s Office.
dime-store (adj.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

don’t take any rubber dimes

(US) be careful, watch your step.

[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 543: Take care of yourself, Studs, and don’t take any rubber dimes.
drop a dime (v.) (also drop a dime on, drop (the) dime(s) (on), drop a dollar on, drop a quarter on, put a dime on) [the act of making a call from a public telephone, which in the 1970s cost ten cents. Note basketball jargon drop a dime, to shoot a three-point basket] (US)

1. to leave a tip.

[US]Charleston (WV) Daily Mail 9 Oct. 8/8: ‘Who is “George Eddy”?’ ‘Probably some guy,’ one of the soda dispensers told me, ‘who came in every afternoon a long time ago for a “twist it, choke it and make it squeal” – and never dropped a dime.’.

2. to inform, to inform against; thus dime-dropping; drop one’s own dime, for an officer to call the police anonymously so as to be able to make a raid when there is no official justiification.

[US]E. De Roo Young Wolves 138: Go ahead, ask me to drop a dime. See what ya get.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 37: These stool-pigeon niggas [...] Drop a dime on you ’fore God can git the news.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 20: I decided I want to drop one of them dimes, call somebody [...] in Boston P.D.
[US]in J. Breslin World According to Breslin (1985) 63: ‘You drop a dime, that’s ghetto talk for telling on somebody. put a dime in the phone and call up on him. If you say you drop a quarter, that means you go a lot more to tell [...] If you drop a dollar, you may get killed for it’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 143: Keefe could have used the opportunity to drop the dime on Al García.
[US]M. McAlary Buddy Boys 79: He reported that there was a man with a gun inside a Brooklyn building. This practice—called ‘dropping your own dime’—enabled the Anticrime officers to report on a bogus gun run when they really entered the apartment to search it for narcotics and money.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 245: The only way they could know [...] is by that dime-dropping son of a bitch.
[US]Steve Earle ‘Billy and Bonnie’ 🎵 He never knew nothin’ when the dime was dropped.
[US]P. Cornwell Last Precinct 282: You think someone put a dime on Mitch?
[US]50 Cent ‘Wanksta’ 🎵 The D’s ran up in my crib / You know who dropping dimes.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 33: He’s obliged to drop the dime.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] Mufuckas sayin’ you dropped a dime on my rap-dog, yo.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] [L]ooking for weapons, dope, most of all information, trying to get someone to snitch, to drop a dime, to sell a name.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘[N]o cowboy bullshit, no illegal wires, no booming, no dropping your own dime’.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 192: [T]hey had better drop a dime if they ever want Duke to bail them out again.

3. to explain, to recount, to pass on information (in a non-criminal context).

[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 9: clue you in – To be informed; told; someone drops the dime in your direction.
[US]C. Hiaasen Native Tongue 27: One phone call to the newspaper, and any number of people would’ve been happy to drop the dime.

4. (US) to make a bet.

[US]F. Bill ‘Cold, Hard Love’ in Crimes in Southern Indiana [ebook] ‘Wanna drop a dime on the next fight?’.
on someone’s dime (adv.) (also on someone’s nickel)

at someone’s expense.

[US]R. Cooley When Corruption Was King 33: My friends and I decided to put on our own mixers[...] Some guys used to go out and bring back beer on their own nickel.
[US]R. Cea No Lights, No Sirens 112: What do you think the captain is going to say if we go off the reservation on his dime?
[US]L. Berney Whiplash River [ebook] She was on her own dime this trip, not Uncle Sam’s.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 173: [A] safe house for battered women that his tougher bounty hunters guard on his dime.
on the dime (adv.)

(US black) by chance, spontaneously.

[US]C. Himes ‘The Song Says “Keep on Smiling”’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 89: Did you really come down to meet me, sugar, or did I just pop in on the dime?
[US]W. Diehl Sharky’s Machine 186: What the fuck’s so urgent you jokers get me outa the symphony right on the dime.
pocketful of dimes (n.)

(US prison) a well-known and prolific informer.

[US]Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ) 31 July B1/5: A pocketful of dimes — A well-known snitch who has informed numerous times.