065 – Expression: To Nickel and Dime

In this expression episode, you’ll learn the English expression “to nickel and dime”. You’ll also practice your listening and learn new vocabulary about the Canadian economy.

The Expression to Nickel and Dime

Definitions of the words in the expression

Nickel noun /nɪkəl/

Nickel is an element. It has the atomic number 28, and it is a silvery-white colour. It’s also a material that has been used to make coins like money.

Dime noun /daɪm/

A 10-cent coin.

Canadian Nickel
The Canadian 5-cent piece is called a nickel and has a beaver on it.
Canadian dime
This Canadian coin is officially called a 10-cent piece but most people call it a dime. The coin has the Bluenose on it which is a famous schooner.

Definitions of the expression

The expression to nickel and dime can be used in two ways.

When it is used as an adjective it is used to describe something that is not important, usually because it does not involve much money.

Example: We don’t need to nickel and dime every proposal for funding.

When it is used as a verb it means to expose to financial hardship or bankruptcy by the accumulation of small expenses, bills, etc.

Example: Banks are always nickel and diming their customers with excess fees.

In This Episode:


  • substances
  • natural resources
  • superpower
  • abundant
  • inhabitants
  • pulp
  • grain
  • cattle
  • coastline
  • importer
  • exporter
  • maple syrup
  • manufacturing
  • transportation
  • globalized


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