[Ads-l] turn on a dime (1911), stop on a dime (1921)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 9 00:49:25 EDT 2021


Thanks to the mysterious "JEL" for those excellent cites! :->

On Thu, Sep 9, 2021 at 12:11 AM James Eric Lawson <jel at nventure.com> wrote:

> An 'answer' at ELU,
>
> https://english.stackexchange.com/a/552273
>
> links to an example of 'turn on a dime' from 1893 (middle column, 2nd
> para from bottom),
>
>
> https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=pst.000060119063&view=1up&seq=502&size=125&q1=dime
>
> "a little chestnut that was quick as a flash and could turn on a dime"
>
> and an example of 'stop on a dime' from 1919,
>
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/93431219/?terms=%22stop%2Bon%2Ba%2Bdime%22
>
> "because you can stop on a dime with those brakes".
>
> On 9/8/21 1:47 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> > Here is another coin employed to measure turning radius in 1902.
> >
> > Date: January 23, 1902
> > Newspaper: The Burlington Free Press
> > Newspaper Location: Burlington, Vermont
> > Article: Hope Ahead For The Horse
> > Author: Rene Bache
> > Quote Page 2, Column 4
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > https://www.newspapers.com/image/197088662/?terms=ideal
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > An ideal polo pony has "quarters like a cart-horse," and should have
> > such control of himself as to be able to "turn on a dollar."
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 3:19 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> The OED entry for "dime" hasn't been updated with the idiom
> "(turn/stop) on
> >> a dime," though Oxford Dictionaries has it ("used to refer to a maneuver
> >> that can be performed by a moving vehicle or person within a small area
> or
> >> short distance").
> >>
> >> HDAS has an earlier expression, "turn on a five-cent piece," from 1881.
> The
> >> same quote appears in newspaper databases as early as Oct. 17, 1879,
> >> excerpted from an article by A.A. Hayes, Jr. in the Nov. 1879 issue of
> >> Harper's. ("Turn on a ten-cent piece" shows up starting in 1891.)
> >>
> >> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84969173/turns-on-a-five-cent-piece/
> >>
> >> HDAS has "turn on a dime" from 1918 but doesn't have "stop on a dime."
> >>
> >> * turn on a dime (1911)
> >>
> >> ---
> >> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84966683/turn-on-a-dime/
> >> Galveston (Texas) Daily News, Mar. 18, 1911, p. 3, col. 6
> >> While the ship was being turned and docked her fast little steam launch
> >> darted about doing its share of the task like something with human
> >> Intelligence. It was a fast little craft and could almost turn on a
> dime in
> >> a jiffy.
> >> ---
> >> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84966716/turn-on-a-dime/
> >> Washington Post, May 28, 1911, Sporting Section, p. 4, col. 7
> >> The only difference in equipment is in the shoes, the American ponies
> >> wearing light plates with a flange on the outer rim and the English
> ponies
> >> having the flange on the inside of the shoe, which in their opinion is
> the
> >> part of the foot most needing a bracing when a pony turns "on a dime."
> >> ---
> >>
> >> * stop on a dime (1921)
> >>
> >> ---
> >> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84965918/you-can-stop-it-on-a-dime/
> >> Indianapolis News, Jan. 27, 1921, p. 19 (advt.)
> >> The New Design 1921 Franklin [...]
> >> Increased leverage makes transmission footbrake 30% powerful. You can
> stop
> >> it on a dime.
> >> ---
> >> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84966009/stop-on-a-dime/
> >> Herald and Review, Decatur, Ill., Mar. 25, 1921, p. 6, col. 2
> >> They [sc. buses] will get you down town a little quicker than the street
> >> cars, sometimes, and often furnish you with many thrills enroute by
> >> stunting in front of an 18 ton street car that cannot stop on a dime, no
> >> matter how careful the operator, or ignoring the watchman's warning at
> the
> >> railroad crossing.
> >> ---
> >> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84966090/stop-on-a-dime/
> >> South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, May 2, 1922, p. 2, col. 6
> >> It is true that "flivvers" can stop on a dime but some drivers forget
> that
> >> they sometimes back up.
> >> ---
> >>
> >> --bgz
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
> --
> James Eric Lawson
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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