A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 02, 2009
“In for a dime, in for a dollar”

"In for a dime, in for a dollar” is an American version of “in for a penny, in for a pound” (the British pound currency, in a saying that dates to the 1600s). The saying means that once something has started—even a little—that party is stuck until the end. The saying was used by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (1916-2009) to describe the Vietnam War.

“In for a dime, in for a dollar” is cited in print from at least 1956 and has been used in gambling (especially poker).


Wiktionary: in for a dime, in for a dollar
Etymology: Alteration of “in for a penny, in for a pound”, adapted to the denominations of the American currency (£ & d → $ & ¢).
Pronunciation: IPA: /ɪn fɔɹ ə daɪm ɪn fɔɹ ə ˈdɒ.lɚ/
Proverb: in for a dime, in for a dollar
Americanised form of in for a penny, in for a pound.
. 1983, Allen Drury, Decision, p. 356:
.. In for a dime, in for a dollar, he thought crazily, and said what he had to say in a voice he forced to stay level and calm.
. 1998, Ellen Miller, Like Being Killed, p. 47:
.. In for a dime, in for a dollar. I whispered to Gerry, “Count me in”. Heroin was unromantic, neither sacred nor satanic; it was simply inevitable.
. 1999, David A. Gauntlett, Insurance Coverage for Intellectual Property Assets, p. CCXCI:
.. This obligation flows from the principle recognized in virtually all jurisdictions that when the policyholder is required to defend any one claim, all elements of the case must be defended (i.e., “in for a dime, in for a dollar”).
. 2003, Leo Kolber, Leo: a life, p. 183:
.. I had bought some of Cemp’s MGM stock for myself. “Listen”, I told Edgar, “in for a dime, in for a dollar”. There was no point in selling at $8. If we were going to lose we might as well lose the whole thing.

Wiktionary: in for a penny, in for a pound
Etymology: Originally with reference to the fact that if one owed a penny, one might as well owe a pound, as the penalties for non-payment were virtually identical in severity.
Pronunciation: (RP) IPA: /ɪn fɔː eɪ ˈpɛ.ni ɪn fɔː eɪ paʊnd/ (US) IPA: /ɪn fɔɹ ə ˈpɛ.ni ɪn fɔɹ ə paʊnd/
Proverb: in for a penny, in for a pound
Expressing recognition that one must, having started something, see it through to its end, rather than stopping short thereof; accepting that one must “go the whole hog”.
. 1964, J. F. Holleman, Experiment in Swaziland: report of the Swaziland sample survey, 1960, p. 9:
.. Under the circumstances it seemed to be a case of ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’. If the Institute’s team were still prepared to accept the challenge, the Administration was willing to do likewise…
. 1964, Sanki Ichikawa, The Kenkyusha Dictionary of Current English Idioms, p. 509:
… in for a penny, in for a pound: if one undertakes something, it must be carried through at whatever cost.
. 2001, B. J. James, A Lady for Lincoln Cade, p. 159:
.. Turning before the mirror, she studied the gown she’d spent much of her savings on in Belle Terre. “Okay, but not great. In for a penny, in for a pound. Soon I have to get a job.”
. 2002, Kathryn Wall, In for a Penny: A Bay Tanner Mystery, p. 123:
.. I rummaged in my bag for Miss Addie’s keys, turned off the car, and marched purposefully toward the building.
“‘In for a penny, in for a pound’”, I mumbled under my breath as I pushed open the door and headed for the elevator.
. 2004, M. Mihkel Mathiesen, Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate: How Truth Became Controversial, p. 133:
.. It appears to be a situation where the greenhouse proponents are in for a penny, in for a pound. As long as the myth needs to be kept alive, this is the inescapable conclusion.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
in for a penny, in for a pound: expressing a commitment to see a course of action through to its completion, whatever that may involve.
1695 E. RAVENSCROFT Canterbury Guests V. i. 50 Well than, O’er shooes, o’er boots. And In for a Penny, in for a Pound.
1737 J. BREVAL Rape of Helen i. 21 In for a Penny in for a Pound,..I must go through-stitch with my Gallantry.
1841 DICKENS Old Curiosity Shop II. lxvi. 177 Being in for a penny, I am ready as the saying is to be in for a pound.

Google Books
Unhappy Hooligan
By Stuart Palmer
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
1956
Pg. 155:
“In for a dime, in for a dollar. And now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got other work to do.”

Google Books
Proceedings
By American Society of Newspaper Editors
1961
Pg. 167:
...the old expression in poker, “In for a dime, in for a dollar.”

Google Books
The Best and the Brightest
By David Halberstam
New York, NY: Random House
1972
Pg. 308:
And then McNamara was finished and Rusk was talking again: “Okay, Bob, in for a dime, in for a dollar.”
Pg. 755:
What was it he had told McNamara at the time of the B-52 raids? In for a dime, in for a dollar. So we were in for more than a dollar.

Google Books
A Tissue of Lies: Nixon vs. Hiss
By Morton Levitt and Michael Levitt
New York, NY: Morton Levitt and Michael Levitt
1979
Pg. 328:
“In for a dime, in for a dollar” runs an American street refrain; a small lie escalates, and before you look around, your whole fortune is imperiled.

Google News Archive
3 July 1982, Ludington (MI) Daily News, “A Lebanese Balance SHeet” by Patrick J. Buchanan, pg. 4, col. 3:
In for a dime, in for a dollar.

Google News Archive
20 May 1984, Mohave Daily Miner (Kingman, AZ), “pentagon says Soviet movements ‘nothing new,’” pg. 1, col. 1:
“You’re in for a dime or you’re in for a dollar,” he (National security advisor Robert McFarlane—ed.) told a group of Connecticut residents on Capitol Hill.

9 December 1986, Frederick (MD) News, “Dangerous Business” by Robert C. Reid, pg. B4, col. 1:
In for a dime, in for a dollar. Or so goes the old poker saying, as a guy already deeply in the pot has to stay for the finish.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Wednesday, September 02, 2009 • Permalink