get off the dime

Donald M Lance lancedm at MISSOURI.EDU
Mon May 13 19:42:35 UTC 2002

on 5/13/02 4:59 PM, Ruth Barton at mrgjb at SOVER.NET wrote:

> At 3:24 PM -0400 4/13/02, James A. Landau wrote:
>> In a message dated 04/13/2002 1:29:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>> mam at THEWORLD.COM writes:
>> Just a guess, but could it be that the "dime" in question was the one spent
>> to get into a pay toilet and "get off the dime" is a rewording, or maybe
>> euphemism, for "get off the pot"?
>> Here I sit,
>> broken-hearted
>> paid my dime
>> and only farted
>> According to an Englishwoman I met in 1982, British pay toilets (or whatever
>> they call them) cost a shilling, and "I have to spend a shilling" meant "I
>> have to go to the lieu".
>> - Jim Landau
> Hereabouts pay toilets must have cost one cent at one time because "spend a
> penny" is the term used for having to use the latrine.  Ruth in Vermont,
> USA.
> PS:  Miraculously I remembered to put my answer at the bottom, most of my
> genealogy groups want it at the top.
> --
> Ruth Barton
> mrgjb at
> Westminster, VT
I know the ditty as "paid a nickel to shit," which rhymes.  The dime is the
smallest U.S. coin, so it's the one we use in the phrase "to turn on a
dime," perhaps a more likely source of "get off the dime."

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