Definition of nickel-and-dime in English:

Share this entry


North American informal


[with object]
Harass (someone) by charging for many trivial items or services: we don’t nickel-and-dime our customers like some vendors that charge extra for every little utility
More example sentences
  • If companies charge extra for specialized modules, they get accused of nickel-and-diming the customer.
  • Mobile-phone companies have inherited this arrogance, building their business models around nickel-and-diming customers.
  • It's an instance of consumers being nickel-and-dimed to death.


Of little importance: the only games this weekend are nickel-and-dime stuff
More example sentences
  • We couldn't subsidize [housing] enough, so people have to have jobs and they have to be living-wage jobs, not the nickel-and-dime stuff.
  • Harbaugh did nothing but throw nickel-and-dime stuff in the fourth quarter, and if he continues to play, that's probably how it's going to be.
  • We can start with a tiny company in a hardscrabble nickel-and-dime industry and build it into a billion-dollar business.


Late 19th century: originally denoting a shop selling articles costing five or ten cents.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: nickel-and-dime

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.