Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 12:13:07 -0700


Subject: Re: To drop a dime on someone

Here's my two cents.

A personal experience would confirm Kate Catmull's conclusion that "to drop

a dime" meaning "inform" was active in black american speech in the early

80's. When I worked on the King Tut Exhibit (1978), a time clock punch card

scam was reported. A black asst. supervisor then accused an underling of

"dropping a dime" on him. Whether this came from the dealers or the cops

is open to speculation on the basis of this single, robust datum. The

father of the guy who used the phrase was a police detective.

Another dime phone reference comes from a friend of mine in his late 40's

who'll end long long distance calls that I place with "The next one's on

my dime."

Bill King Second Language Acquistion & Teaching Program

University of Arizona.