Does the expression 'on one's dime' have some usage limitations?

I haven't found it in the Longman, Macmillan, or Lexico dictionaries so I don't see how I can figure that out otherwise. I found it in the Wiktionary but it often neglects to flag the words style-wise. Is it informal? Maybe, it's from Australian English (I first heard it from someone who is supposed to be an Australian)?

  • This should be helpful: Where does “on X's dime” originate from?.
    – AIQ
    Dec 23, 2019 at 0:25
  • In addition to searching multiple dictionaries, you can also try searching the “main” word: dime (M-W).
    – Em.
    Dec 23, 2019 at 0:27
  • 2
    I am an Australia English speaker (who lived for some time in the US mid-West too) and I have never heard this expression in my life before. “Dime” (the US coin) is clearly American and any limited use of it here In Australia is a borrowing from American English. For example, “I haven’t got a dime on me.” to mean “I have no money.” is used very rarely in Australia and even then just jokingly, consciously mimicking US usage. Dec 23, 2019 at 10:51
  • @OrbitalAussie I've only ever heard it from Americans, with whom I've worked. Besides from my recollection of living in Australia, you don't talk about "dimes", do you?
    – WS2
    Jun 9, 2022 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


Some information about on * dime from ngram by books.google.com:

This construction 'on one's dime' is more rare than the same with articles (a, the):

NGRAM from books.google.com But what about meaning?

Here examples from books I did find:

If the group doesn’t agree, it’s on my dime.

It was dinky, the landlord refused to paint it (so I did, on my dime), the appliances were old, sucked and broke down a lot and my bathroom suite was mustard yellow.

Katz didn't seem the type to ignore me, especially since the trip was on her dime.

The coffee I’m willing to get but not on my dime.”

Then brought her up here while you're still clocked in officially on my dime?"

Then “get your ass back here” became “fine, but this is on your dime, Adams.”

“I know that, but you were working Charles’s land, taking risks on his dime.

“Just don’t forget,” Jimmy coos over the phone as we discuss the details of his upcoming trip to Tokyo on my dime.

I don't know exactly meaning of this construction but I suppose this is like "at my expense", when you care of something on your own responsibility.

About style maybe somebody can say more but it's look like for me much less formal than "at my expense". And that it's appear not so long time ago I think it can't be formal anywhere. enter image description here I hope this will be helpful for you.

  • Other than the literal meanings, “on a dime” means something different from “on one’s dime”.
    – Em.
    Dec 23, 2019 at 5:12
  • This cases "a, the" just for search any pattern from ngrams. And this information about "a, the" cases are superfluous for this topic. You're right!
    – sayfriend
    Dec 23, 2019 at 5:25

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