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In for a dime, in for a dollar

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 29, 2007

In Reply to: In for a dime, in for a dollar posted by Victoria S Dennis on August 29, 2007

: : What does it mean 'in for a dime, in for a dollar'?
: : Also, where did it come from?

: It's a more recent version of an old English proverb, "In for a penny, in for a pound", (first recorded, and obviously used as a proverb that the audience would be expected to know) in a play published in 1695. Literally, it means that when you have invested money in anything, if more expenditure is subsequently needed to succeed you must pay whatever's needed. Figuratively, it means that if you support any cause you should be ready to support it wholeheartedly, even if it turns out to need more of your support than at first you anticipated. (VSD)

Halfway measures are sure to fail, go all the way or stay out. It's all or none if you want to win. If you're unwilling to bet the farm, then don't bet. Go for broke or stay out.

W.S. Gilbert, especially in libretti for his operettas with Arthur Sullivan, liked to assemble a bunch of old saws now and then. In Iolanthe, the Lord Chancellor is mustering his arguments for approaching his legal ward with love on his mind, with the help of a chorus of Lords. His verse, followed by the refrain, is:

LORD CHANCELLOR: I'll take heart And make a start--
Though I fear the prospect's shady--
Much I'd spend To gain my end-- Faint heart never won fair lady!

ALL: Never, never, never, Faint heart never won fair lady!
Nothing venture, nothing win--
Blood is thick, but water's thin--
In for a penny, in for a pound--
It's Love that makes the world go round!