The worth of a dime

The worth of a dime

Americanism: Worth of a dime

Another thing to be aware of is how much each American coin is worth. Funny story: One day soon after my Brazilian roommate had moved to Boston, she pointed out that a dime (the smallest coin) only says “One Dime,” with no indication of how many cents it is worth. All of the other coins state how much they are worth in cents. For example:

  • Quarters say “Quarter Dollar”
  • Nickels say “Five Cents”
  • Pennies say “One Cent”
  • Dimes say “One Dime”

When my roommate saw “one dime,” she assumed it was one cent too, and insisted on overpaying a cashier with dozens of dimes. The cashier gave the coins back to her. She walked away confused until she spoke to me and confirmed how much a dime was actually worth.

Why does dime say “One Dime” instead of “Ten Cents?” As usual, we have borrowed a French word and changed the pronunciation. Dîme means tithe or “tenth part.” Cent is the Latin root of one hundredth.