Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dime n.

[SAmE dime, ten cents]

1. (US) in drug uses.

(a) [20C+] $10 worth of a given drug; also attrib.

(b) [1980s+] crack cocaine.

(c) [1980s+] $10 worth of crack cocaine; $10 worth of marijuana.

2. [1930s+] (US prison) a ten-year prison sentence; a period of ten years.

3. [1930s+] (US) the number ten, often as $10.

4. [1950s+] (gambling) $1,000; $10,000.

5. [1990s+] (US black/campus, also dime piece) a very attractive person [they score ‘a perfect ten’ i.e. out of ten].

In compounds

dime bag (n.) (also dime sack) [bag n.1 (6a)]

1. [1960s+] (US drugs) $10 worth of a drug.

2. [1990s+] attrib., of a dealer, low in the drug-selling hierarchy.

dime note (n.)

[1930s–60s] (US black) a $10 bill.

dime piece (n.)

see sense 5 above.

dime store (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

double dime (n.) [1960s–70s] (US)

20 years.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

dime-ass (adj.)

[1960s–70s] (US black) worthless, contemptible.

dime-grind palace (n.) [grind n. (2d)]

[1930s] (US jazz) a cheap dancehall.

dime-store (adj.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

don’t take any rubber dimes

[1920s] (US) be careful, watch your step.

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. [1930s] to leave a tip.

2. [1960s+] to inform, to inform against; thus dime-dropping.

3. [1960s+] to explain, to recount, to pass on information (in a non-criminal context).

on someone’s dime (adv.)

[2000s] at someone’s expense.

on the dime (adv.)

[1940s] (US black) by chance, spontaneously.

pocketful of dimes (n.)

[1980s] (US prison) a well-known and prolific informer.