Why Would I Switch Out A Dime For A Penny

The Meaning behind Dime for a Penny Phrase

Why Would I Switch Out A Dime For A Penny


Why would i switch out a dime for a penny? You may recognize this phrase as one of the lines in the 1.2.3 song lyrics, a song by Moneybagg Yo. You may also already sing it a lot, but you still don’t get what it means. It is not surprising. This quote or maybe we can even call it slang is not that common phrase that people use in everyday conversation. Mostly, you can find it in a book or other literature creation. Now, the most important part of this phrase is the “dime for a penny” part. This is what you need to understand if you want to know the meaning of this line from that song.

Dime for a Penny

Why Would I Switch Out A Dime For A Penny

To understand this phrase, you need to know what dime and penny are. First of all, let’s take a look at the dime meaning. Dime is a word that originally comes from the old French language, “disme”. This word means the tenth part of something. You also can find a similar word in the Latin language, which is “decima” which also has a similar meaning.  

The dime was used in the United States currency to describe the one-tenth value of one Dollar. Therefore, ten dimes have a similar value to one Dollar. Currently, the dime is also the smallest U.S. coin that circulates in the market.  

How about a penny? You can’t find the penny name in the U.S. currency. This name is used in the British. As for its value, it is similar to once cent in the current U.S. currency. The funny thing about the penny is people also use it as the informal or non-official name of one cent of the U.S. currency. 

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From this point, we believe that you already have the image of what the meaning of the why would i switch out a dime for a penny phrase is. Within this phrase, we can see that the subject of the sentence questioning why the subject would change a dime, which has a ten-cent value, with a penny, that has a tenth of the dime value. It is a rhetorical question. It is a phrase that states the obvious, which you won’t switch your dime with a penny because of its unequal value.

However, this phrase doesn’t have any relation to finances or money. This is the phrase that we use to express the wrong decision that we made. We did something that has less-significant value than what we have. In many cases, people use it to describe a love relationship. 

And this phrase in that song lyric mostly also describes love. In short, it is about someone who broke up with his/her couple and gets a new partner, which worse than his/her previous partner. It is like telling that person that what he/she did was stupid. He/she let the person that loved him/her so much for another person who knows what in that other person’s mind. So, if you also have this experience, you also can use it to express your regret for throwing away your true relationship with someone that you don’t love.

The Fun Fact about Dime and Penny

Besides we use dime and penny to describe the unequal value trade, dime and penny also have many interesting things that most people don’t know. Here are some of them that could be a good reference for you. Or, you also can read it just for fun and adding extra knowledge.

  • Difficult to tell the difference 

In the past, dime and penny have similar size, even though it has different material. However, in 1943, when World War II broke out, the government use copper as the material for warfare. Unfortunately, the penny that was previously made of copper needs other materials to replace the lack of copper. Then, the U.S. government decided to use zinc-coated steel for a penny. This material made the penny even looks similar to a dime, which makes it difficult to differentiate. Fortunately, this material was only used for one year. After that, the size and material for penny and dime were made different, so people can easily see the differences between these two.

  • It uses different materials

As we mentioned above, penny and dime use a different material, but that was in the past. Today, most of the penny and dime coin use similar material. Now, let’s take a look at what those two were made in the past. 

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In 1792, the government created a law that regulates the material used for the coin. The American coin must be made of gold, silver, and copper. The gold was used for bigger value, which is $10, $5, and $2.50 coin. As for the coin that has a lower value than those three were made of silver, which is including dime. Then, the cents or penny, which has a lower value than a dime, was made of copper.

As you can see, the value of its material has a big difference. This is also maybe one fact that we can relate to the why would i switch out a dime for a penny phrase. It shows clearly that dime has more value than a penny.

  • Pickling dime and penny

In the past, the government used unique and maybe strange methods to process the American coin. For dime and penny, they pickled it before move into the polishing process. However, it doesn’t use a similar liquid to what you find on the pickled cucumber. Instead, they used a special chemical solution for this pickling process. But how they call it pickling was always interesting to hear.


Dime and penny maybe are the common coin that you use every day. However, when you use it in a phrase, it could have a different meaning. And, it is interesting to find the true meaning of it. That’s the fun of language. So, you also can try to search and learn other phrases than why would i switch out a dime for a penny phrase that we show to you. Guaranteed, you will also find many interesting facts about them.

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