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To assess costs or fees in enough small amounts that it adds up to a substantial sum. Between the increases in property tax, sales tax, and income tax, I feel like the government is trying nickel-and-dime us to death. That phone company is nickel-and-diming their customers with all those fees.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nickel-and-dime someone (to death)

Fig. to make numerous small monetary charges that add up to a substantial sum. Those contractors nickel-and-dimed me to death. Just give me the whole bill at one time. Don't nickel-and-dime me for days on end.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

nickel and dime

1. If you describe something as nickel and dime, you mean that it is not important or serious, or involves only small amounts of money. Note: A nickel is a five cent coin and a dime is a ten cent coin. I want to keep the campaign on the issues that matter. I'm not interested in that nickel and dime stuff. Some claim the company's nickel-and-dime charges are driving away sellers of inexpensive items. Note: You can also say nickel-dime with the same meaning. It's nickel-dime stuff, though, compared to what you and Michael have to deal with.
2. If someone nickels and dimes someone or something, they harm them by continually taking small amounts of money away from them, or by continually making small changes or requests. Note: A nickel is a five cent coin and a dime is a ten cent coin. The claims aren't huge but there are a lot of them and it all adds up. We're getting nickeled and dimed to death.
See also: and, dime, nickel
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


involving only a small amount of money; not important: I’m going to make serious money this time. No more no nickel-and-dime stuff for me. ▶ ˌnickel-and-ˈdime verb charge many small fees which add up to a large amount in total: Unlike other companies, we charge a flat fee so we won’t nickel-and-dime you to death.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Do I get frustrated with the nickel and diming? Absolutely.
The expression "nickel and diming" was coined in 1941, about 10 years after the birth of commercial aviation in the U.S.
Nickel and diming Cruise lines are in the hunt for alternate revenue sources, suggested Peter Fanizzi, owner of My Going Places Travel in Staten Island, N.Y.
BP - which came under heavy fire from US President Barack Obama last week for "nickel and diming" Gulf residents while planning big dividends for investors - added that it had paid 26,500 claims totalling pounds 42.3m.
Zagat surveyors reported that the major US airlines, facing high fuel costs, aging fleets and difficult labour relations, are "nickel and diming" passengers to make ends meet.