Turn on a dime

Another phrase involving money, or more specifically a dime, a 10 cent coin, the smallest coin in the US.  The expression is “to turn on a dime”.

Something that turns on an dime changes direction very quickly, more or less instantaneously.  The origin of the expression goes back to to high performance cars, airplanes, boats.  The ability to turn around on the smallest of coins implies that you can turn very quickly in a very small space.  Turning on a dime does not imply change for better or worse, just quick change.

Here are two examples:

“We are all hoping the economy will improve quickly but it is not likely it will turn on a dime.”

And in a more literal sense: “I love this little car.  It can turn on a dime.”

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