Brunch (1896); Dime (1995)---(Question)
James A. Landau
JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Feb 28 21:38:15 UTC 2004
In a message dated Fri, 27 Feb 2004 16:32:14 -0500, George Thompson
<george.thompson at NYU.EDU> writes
> Since the newspaper passage quoted refers to the dimes as "dropping",
> perhaps the phrase was influenced by the expression "to drop a dime" -- in
> NYC, this means to inform on someone, or report someone's misdeeds; the
> is dropping a dime into a payphone.
> I was about to call this expression obsolete, since in NYC at least the
> of a pay-phone call has gone up to a quarter; but then, kid-talk for a
> is still "choo-choo". So maybe "to drop a dime" will live on when the
> payphone altogether has joined the steam locomotive and the oil lamp in
or perhaps the reference is to putting a dime into not a payphone but a pay
I don't know if pay toilets in the US always cost a dime, but a man born ca.
1920 told me that as a child he and his buddies would offer, for a nickel, to
slip under the door of a pay booth and unlock it from the inside.
About 1980 an Englishwoman told me that in England pay toilets (whatever they
are called) cost a shilling, and therefore "I have to spend a shillng" meant
"I have to go to the bathroom".
- James A. Landau
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