A dime a dozen

A US dime – the smallest coin in size is made of copper and nickel and costs about 3 cents to make, source: images.businessweek.com/ss/06/07/money/source/4.htm

If something is a “dime a dozen” it is very cheap and easy to get.

A dime is a 10 cent piece.  It used be worth something, one could actually buy something for a dime, like a Jiffy Cake Mix or a Campbells tomato soup in back in the Ohio of 1957  (reference).   But even in the Ohio of 1957 something you could buy a dozen (12) of for a dime wasn’t anything special.

The expression is now used to refer to something that is very common, cheap, easy to get and therefore nothing special.  It is a mildly derogatory expression, there a lot worse things one can say about things of little apparent value.

The phrase is used to refer to things and people.  In the latter case, people whom you refer to as a dime a dozen are probably not very pleased with that description.

Here are some examples:

“These stuffed animals used to be collectors’ items but they mass produced and now they are a dime a dozen.”

“You don’t need friends like these, they are a dime a dozen.”

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