Drop of a dime

The Americans sure like their dimes.  Here is another idiom involving the smallest of the US coins: “at the drop of a dime”

Literally dropping dimes, pic: fallingpixel.com

If you do something at the drop of a dime you do it very fast, pretty much instantaneously, without too much thought, planning, or hesitation.  Another way of saying the same thing is “at the drop of a  hat”.

The origin of that phrase seem to be the Wild West where dropping a hat was often a sign of an imminent fight.  But then again it might also be of Irish origin where they apparently were also ready to fight without much ado.

Here are some examples:

“The situation in Libya is very volatile right now, things can change at the drop of a dime.”

I would love to fly with you to the Caribbean tomorrow but I can’t just leave at the drop of a hat.”

 
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