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You had to figure out what you were going to do on a dime’s notice

Steve Grieme, one of the best malaphor spotters around, heard a beauty on CNN last week.  A guy was videotaping some of the raging wildfires in Southern California.  In response to a reporter’s question about people fleeing from their homes, he said, “Fight of flight. You had to figure out what you were going to do on a dimes notice”.  This is a congruent conflation of “moment’s notice” and “be prepared to turn on a dime”, both meaning to act quickly.  Thanks Steve!

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1405/17/cnr.03.html

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7 Comments on “You had to figure out what you were going to do on a dime’s notice”

  1. Doobster418 says:

    Seriously, how do people come up with these mash-ups? Some of them could possibly make sense, but ” a dime’s notice”?

    • davemalaphor says:

      And of course they are all unintentional. My theory is that we continue to add cliches and idioms to the english language and it seems we talk more in cliches these days. And of course the population is aging. This is a recipe for confusion.

  2. Raymond Ross Renneke says:

    I’m from So Cal and I use this too. It’s a part of our vernacular out here. Stop hating on the Californian race. It does have some logic to it, as if you flip a dime, it’s libel to spin much more quickly than it’s larger pecuniary counterparts. Hence, ‘a dime’s notice’. We may be as bad as blondes out here, but at least we [actually, that’s all I can think of] :(…..

    • davemalaphor says:

      Interesting. I have found that regional differences do matter in the idiom world. While I still think on a dime’s notice is a mixed idiom, apparently SoCal is an exception.

  3. Raymond Ross Renneke says:

    I forgot to add, even though a dime is inanimate, such analogies still exist in the English language. For example, ‘hair trigger’, the concept being there that it would respond to the movement equivalent of a hair’s breadth. So we do have SOME precedent for ‘dime’s notice’ down here.

  4. […] and “you had to figure out what to do on a dime’s notice” (https://malaphors.com/2014/05/20/you-had-to-figure-out-what-you-were-going-to-do-on-a-dimes-notice/).  The latter was heard and submitted by the Master Spotter of Malaphors Steve Grieme, who also […]

  5. […] and “you had to figure out what to do on a dime’s notice” (https://malaphors.com/2014/05/20/you-had-to-figure-out-what-you-were-going-to-do-on-a-dimes-notice/).  A tip of the toque to Martha Fenimore for hearing this one and sending it […]


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