What does “a nickel on the dime” mean?

Liath 05/23/2018. 2 answers, 6.898 views
the-greatest-showman soundtrack

In The Greatest Showman there's a song set in a bar where PT and Philip are negotiating whether or not Philip will join the show, and there is a lyric I don't understand.

First they're singing about percentages "I wasn't born this morning, eighteen will be just fine" and then they say something about the nickel in a dime?

I'm not American but I know that a dime is a coin? Is there a certain amount of nickel in it? What does this line mean?

2 Answers


Paulie_D 05/23/2018.

The line is

I wasn't born this morning, eighteen would be just fine.

Why not just go ahead and ask for nickels on the dime?

Both "nickels" and "dimes" are common names for coins in the US, 5 cent coins and 10 cent coins respectively.

It probably scans better for the writer than 50 cents on the dollar.

The expression means paying or receiving less than full value...similar to "pennies on the dollar"

Essentially "nickels on the dime" means "why not ask for half"!


MannerPots 05/23/2018.

Just to add to the accepted answer, nickels on the dime is a common expression in parts of North America (I have heard it used in Ontario and BC), indicating that you are getting ripped off in a deal.
For example: "I got a loan, but the bank is taking nickels on the dime"


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