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Jun 6, 2012
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Contranyms

This week's words
enjoin
liege
nickel-and-dime
prodigious
cull

Nickel and dime
Nickel and dime
Photo: US Mint

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

nickel-and-dime or nickel and dime

PRONUNCIATION:
(NIK-uhl an DYM)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To drain gradually: for example, by many charges for small amounts.
2. To accumulate gradually.

adjective: Inexpensive or unimportant.

ETYMOLOGY:
Nickel (five cents) and dime (ten cents) are nicknames of the coins of the smallest value, except penny (one cent), in the US. The nickel coin gets its nickname because it's made of the metals nickel and copper. A dime gets its name from Latin decima (tenth part). Earliest documented use: 1879.

USAGE:
"Both airlines still offer free snacks and drinks. 'We don't like to nickel and dime our customers,' says Chris Mainz, a spokesman for Southwest."
Will Sullivan; Flying on the Cheap; US News & World Report (Washington, DC); Mar 26, 2007.

"Luke literally nickel and dimed his way to 12 grand."
Gina Ford; Project Springboard; WEEK-TV; Jul 15, 2010.

See more usage examples of nickel-and-dime in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I find bowing to people who occasionally wear crowns rather odd. I'll reserve my deference for achievement rather than bloodline. -Robin Ince, comedian, actor, and writer (b. 1969)

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