Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 12:13:07 -0700
From: William King WFKING[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
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
Bill King Second Language Acquistion & Teaching Program
University of Arizona.