Entry in progress—B.P.
Wiktionary: nickel and dime
From the names of two US coins of small value.
nickel and dime
1. (US, idiomatic, colloquial) Small time; operating on a small scale; involving small amounts of money; petty or cheap.
to nickel and dime (third-person singular simple present nickel and dimes, present participle nickel and diming, simple past and past participle nickel and dimed)
1. (US, idiomatic, colloquial) To charge, or be charged, several unexpected small amounts of money, often in the form of fees, taxes, or related expenses to a venture, which when taken as a whole add up to a significant unexpected cost.
2. (US, idiomatic, colloquial, figuratively) To wear down in small increments; to quibble or obsess endlessly with (someone) over trifles.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Inflections: Past participle nickel and dimed, nickeled and dimed
N. Amer. colloq.
trans. To treat in a penny-pinching or parsimonious manner; to harass or wear down with trivialities, esp. by excessive attention to small items of expenditure. Also with phrase as complement: to bring to a specified state or condition in this way.
1913 Washington Post 20 Apr. (Miscellany section) 3/6 ‘They nickel and dime you to death these days,’ ‘Alex’ informed a visitor the other day. ‘Why, if I was to get a $dollar.5 tip now I would retire.’
1967 R. Morris Thoroughly Mod. Millie (film script) in J. E. Lighter Hist. Dict. Amer. Slang (1997) II. 655/1 Rich people can nickel-and-dime you to death.
1970 Washington Post 18 Oct. b4/6 What they’re trying to do now is to nickel-and-dime us to death with booby traps and terrorism.
27 November 1944, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, “The Voice of Broadway” by Dorothy Kilgallen, pg. 6, col. 3:
Gene Kelly is our example for that one. Couldn’t get jobs dancing so he taught it. Nickel-and-dimed it, lived in cheap hotels, kept on debt’s edge but danced.
OCLC WorldCat record
Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America
Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2001.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job—any job—could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on six to seven dollars an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered as a woefully inexperienced homemaker returning to the workforce. So began a grueling, hair raising, and darkly funny odyssey through the underside of working America. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly “unskilled,” that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • (1) Comments • Tuesday, September 11, 2012 • Permalink
I agree,the smallest amount of money yet without it you cant have a dollar. It is sometimes disregarded because of its small value. A lot of interesting info. Thanks.