A day late and a dollar short

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"My grandmother had a phrase for it-something about late, and a dollar ..." "A day late and a dollar short?" suggested Cordelia involuntarily."
can anybody help me ,what's the meaning of 'A day late and a dollar short?' the book is Bujold Lois's Shard of Honor
 
  • Æsop

    Banned
    English--American (upstate NY)
    If a payment (such as monthly rent) of a specified amount is a day late and a dollar short it doesn't meet the requirements: it is slightly inadequate or insufficient. A dollar short means it falls short by one dollar, that is, it is one dollar less than what is due. The phrase is definitely pejorative and suggests to me a chronic inadequacy or attempt to swindle the creditor by paying a little less and little late in the hopes that the late and less than full payment will be accepted and the debtor won't have to pay the full amount or any interest or penalty for being late. It is usually used metaphorically to describe someone who doesn't do everything that is required, who fails by small degrees. A student who is supposed to submit a 10-page paper in an 11 o'clock class on April 30 but who turns in 9 pages to the professor in his office at 4 p.m. is a day late and a dollar short.
     
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