Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 11:26:35 -0400

From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM

Subject: Re: To drop a dime on someone

Anyone out there with a better reference than I have who can confirm the

origin of this phrase? as in, "the Unabomber's brother dropped a dime on

him." It seems like it must come from dropping a dime into a pay phone to

call, for example, the cops, but if anyone knows for sure I'd be grateful

for the information.

You are correct. The usual use is 'to place a phone call to the police

to inform on someone', and hence broadly 'to inform; betray'. The

phrase is also used to mean simply 'to make a phone call'.

The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang cites

examples back to the late 1960s.

Jesse Sheidlower

Random House