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Why is a ten-cent piece called a dime?

Dime is derived from the Latin decent (“ten”) or decimus (“a tenth”). In, the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries dime was applied in England to the tithe or tenth part of one’s income paid to the church. According to the King James Version of the Bible, the last part of Genesis 14:20 reads, “He gave him tithes of all.” John Wycliffe translated this passage, “He gave him dimes of all things.” In his report to the Continental Congress on a new coinage system for the United States, Gouverneur Morris, who was familiar with the French language, recommended a coin to be called a disme, which was the-old French spelling; but the mint act approved in 1792 changed the spelling to dime. The term-as the specific name of a coin is peculiar, to the United States.

Posted by on March 19, 2010.

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