End of ADS-L Digest - 14 Jun 1996 to 20 Jun 1996 ************************************************ There are 4 messages totalling 110 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. To drop a dime on someone (4) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 00:28:39 -0400 From: Al Futrell Subject: Re: To drop a dime on someone On Thu, 20 Jun 1996, Katherine Catmull wrote: > 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. I like this question. In the materials on criminal argot collected from criminals I have many instances of the term "drop" being used, but only one where it means something similar to what I think it means in the 'drop a dime' collocation: "drop a kite." In this case "drop" means literally to place a note informing on a fellow inmate (it was collected in prison) into the mailbox. The operative term, however, is 'kite' and not 'drop.' To drop a dime on somone would mean to give them a ten year prison sentence (although I have never actually heard anyone say it like that).My suspicion is that 'drop a dime' as used in K.C.'s question might be a Hollywood coinage dating back several decades. Or perhaps a Runyonism. Al Futrell -- awfutr01[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]homer.louisville.edu -- http://www.louisville.edu/~awfutr01 Dept of Communication -- University of Louisville