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What is the Origin of the Word Dime?

Guest Author - Raymond F. Hanisco

A READER ASKS

Hi Raymond!!
I read your article that I found in: http://www.bellaonline.com/about/coincollecting
but I still have a doubt that I am sure youŽll be able to solve it for me: why is the 10-cent coin called "dime"? Does it have some background story or was it made up without meaning?
Thanks so much for the info that you can send me!!!
All the best!!!

Maria
Buenos Aires, Argentina

THE COIN GUY RESPONDS

Dear Maria,

Thank you for writing, and for reading BellaOnLine.com.

Your question on the origin of the word "dime" is one that most people in the United States would not be able to answer. The word "dime" is an anglicized version of the word "disme" (pronounced "deem"), meaning tenth. The word is traced back to Simon Stevin van Brugghe, aka Simon Stevinus, aka Stevin. Stevinus invented the decimal system as a convenient alternative to the fractional system that was being used in mathematics. He published a paper, called 'De Thiende' in 1585 under the name Stevin. It was immediately translated to French, and was translated to English by Robert Norton in 1608, and entitled 'Disme: the art of tenths, or, Decimall arithmeticke.' Although the decimal system won a fair amount of acceptance in the scientific community it did nothing for currency. Stevin's paper was republished in 1634. The article found favor in the American Colonies, and when the United States won its independence, the founding fathers, saw the decimal system monetarily as a way to make a dramatic change from the past. Among the first coins issued by the United States was the 1792 Half Disme, and the 1792 Disme. Within a couple of years, the word became "dime."

I certainly hope this has answered your question. Please feel free to write at any time.

Ray Hanisco
Editor, Coin Collecting
BellaOnLine.com

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Content copyright © 2014 by Raymond F. Hanisco. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Raymond F. Hanisco. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Gary Eggleston for details.

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