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nick·​el-and-dime ˌni-kəl-ən-ˈdīm How to pronounce nickel-and-dime (audio)
: involving or offering only a small amount of money


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nickeled-and-dimed ˌni-kəld-ən-ˈdīmd How to pronounce nickel-and-dime (audio) or nickel-and-dimed ˌni-kəl-ən-ˈdīmd How to pronounce nickel-and-dime (audio) ; nickeling-and-diming ˌni-k(ə-)liŋ-ən-ˈdī-miŋ How to pronounce nickel-and-dime (audio) or nickel-and-diming ˌni-kəl-ən-ˈdī-miŋ How to pronounce nickel-and-dime (audio)

transitive verb

: to impair, weaken, or defeat piecemeal (as through a series of small incursions or excessive attention to minor details)
: to treat (a person or situation) by paying excessive attention to small amounts of money often with a detrimental effect

Examples of nickel-and-dime in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Love or hate Apple, the company’s nickel-and-dime approach to cables, dongles, and chargers primed people to believe reports like this. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 14 Sep. 2023 Finally, though, the Bengals didn’t nickel-and-dime a deal to death. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, 8 Sep. 2023 Doyel:Pacers won't get off mediocrity treadmill with nickel-and-dime moves from NBA Draft Nate Laszewski, Notre Dame Basketball fans in the state of Indiana should be familiar with Nate Laszewski of Notre Dame. Indystar Sports, The Indianapolis Star, 23 June 2023 This hasn’t even touched on other ways Disneyland can nickel-and-dime guests. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2023 The break-in at a Philadelphia parking lot wasn’t a nickel-and-dime case. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 14 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nickel-and-dime.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nickel-and-dime was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near nickel-and-dime

Cite this Entry

“Nickel-and-dime.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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