General Question

silky1's avatar

Where did the expression stop on a dime come from?

Asked by silky1 (1505points) January 17th, 2011

Just wondering.

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7 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Theoretically, you can’t stop on a dime because it’s so small, so anything that stopped well, usually a car with great brakes, was said to stop on a dime. Ironically, my drivers education teacher, who did not care for me at all (I was a bit of a smart ass in her regular class) challenged our class to try to stop on a dime. I nailed it perfectly. Drove up and parked the car with the front tire precisely on top of the dime. Pissed her off big time.

Coloma's avatar

From what I have gathered it is an expression of accuracy. The dime being so small that to stop on a dime means extreme accuracy.

It seems to be a very old expression and I wonder if it originated in the old west perhaps, originally about quick horses with fast stops.

I used to own an ex rope horse who was extremely fast and could stop on a dime.
They are trained for quick breakaways and fast, precision stops. ???

CyanoticWasp's avatar


Maybe the expression came from a driver trying to prove that his car was more capable than a quarter horse.

Coloma's avatar

Maybe. Maybe the Quarter horse would stop on a Quarter.
But, because many car terms originated from horses ya never know, just pondering. ;-)

Coloma's avatar


Interesting, mystery solved! :-)

sonataking05's avatar

A Show and SPEED network called Car Science just showed the eqaution for stopping of a dime this week. It is possible with a simple (for a mathmatics major) matmatic equation.

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