from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To break or smash by striking violently.
  • transitive v. To hurl, knock, or thrust with sudden violence.
  • transitive v. To splash; bespatter.
  • transitive v. To write hastily. Often used with off: dashed off a note to the dean.
  • transitive v. To drink hastily. Often used with down: dashed down a glass of milk.
  • transitive v. To add an enlivening or altering element to.
  • transitive v. To affect by adding another element or ingredient to: ice cream that was dashed with rum.
  • transitive v. To destroy or wreck: Our dreams were dashed. See Synonyms at blast.
  • transitive v. To confound; abash.
  • intransitive v. To strike violently; smash.
  • intransitive v. To move with haste; rush: dashed to the door.
  • n. A swift, violent blow or stroke: knocked the books to the floor with an impatient dash of his hand.
  • n. A splash.
  • n. A small amount of an added ingredient: a dash of sherry.
  • n. A quick stroke, as with a pencil or brush.
  • n. A sudden movement; a rush: made a dash for the exit.
  • n. Sports A footrace, usually less than a quarter-mile long, run at top speed from the outset.
  • n. A spirited quality in action or style; verve. See Synonyms at vigor.
  • n. Either of two symbols, an emdash or an endash, used in writing and in printing.
  • n. In Morse and similar codes, the long sound or signal used in combination with the dot and silent intervals to represent letters or numbers.
  • n. A dashboard.
  • transitive v. To damn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the following symbols: ‒ (figure dash), – (en dash), — (em dash), or ― (horizontal bar).
  • n. A short run.
  • n. A small quantity of a liquid substance; less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.
  • n. A dashboard.
  • n. One of the two symbols of Morse code.
  • n. A bribe or gratuity.
  • v. To run quickly or for a short distance.
  • v. To leave or depart.
  • v. To destroy by striking (against).
  • v. To throw violently.
  • v. To sprinkle; to splatter.
  • v. To ruin; to destroy.
  • v. To dishearten; to sadden.
  • v. To complete hastily, usually with down or off.
  • v. To draw quickly; jot
  • interj. Damn!

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Violent striking together of two bodies; collision; crash.
  • n. A sudden check; abashment; frustration; ruin.
  • n. A slight admixture, infusion, or adulteration; a partial overspreading
  • n. A rapid movement, esp. one of short duration; a quick stroke or blow; a sudden onset or rush
  • n. Energy in style or action; animation; spirit.
  • n. A vain show; a blustering parade; a flourish.
  • n. A mark or line [--], in writing or printing, denoting a sudden break, stop, or transition in a sentence, or an abrupt change in its construction, a long or significant pause, or an unexpected or epigrammatic turn of sentiment. Dashes are also sometimes used instead of marks or parenthesis.
  • n.
  • n. The sign of staccato, a small mark [�] denoting that the note over which it is placed is to be performed in a short, distinct manner.
  • n. The line drawn through a figure in the thorough bass, as a direction to raise the interval a semitone.
  • n. A short, spirited effort or trial of speed upon a race course; -- used in horse racing, when a single trial constitutes the race.
  • intransitive v. To rush with violence; to move impetuously; to strike violently.
  • transitive v. To throw with violence or haste; to cause to strike violently or hastily; -- often used with against.
  • transitive v. To break, as by throwing or by collision; to shatter; to crust; to frustrate; to ruin.
  • transitive v. To put to shame; to confound; to confuse; to abash; to depress.
  • transitive v. To throw in or on in a rapid, careless manner; to mix, reduce, or adulterate, by throwing in something of an inferior quality; to overspread partially; to bespatter; to touch here and there
  • transitive v. To form or sketch rapidly or carelessly; to execute rapidly, or with careless haste; -- with off.
  • transitive v. To erase by a stroke; to strike out; knock out; -- with out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To strike suddenly and violently; give a sudden blow to.
  • To cause to strike suddenly and with violence; throw or thrust violently or suddenly: as, to dash one stone against another; to dash water on the face.
  • To break by collision or by strokes; shatter.
  • To scatter or sprinkle something over; bespatter; sprinkle; splash; suffuse.
  • To place, make, mark, sketch, etc., in a hasty manner.
  • To throw something into so as to produce a mixture; mingle; mix; adulterate: as, to dash wine with water; the story is dashed with fables; to dash fire-damp with pure air (said in coal-mining: see dad).
  • To cast down; thrust out or aside; impede; frustrate; abate; lower.
  • To confound; confuse; put to shame; abash: as, he was dashed at the appearance of the judge.
  • To erase at a stroke; strike out; blot out or obliterate: as, to dash out a line or a word.
  • To strike out or form at a blow; produce suddenly.
  • Synonyms Dash, Smash, Shatter, Shiver, Crush, Mash. That which is dashed does not necessarily go to pieces: if it is broken, the fact is commonly expressed. That which is smashed, shattered, or shivered is dashed to pieces suddenly, with violence, at a blow or in a collision. Smashing is the roughest and most violent of the three acts; the word expresses the most complete disruption or ruin: as, the drunken soldier smashed (shattered,' shivered) the mirror with the butt of his musket. The use of smash or mash for crush (as, his head was smashed, I mashed my finger) is colloquial. Shatter and shiver differ in that shatter suggests rather the flying of the parts, and shiver the breaking of the substance; and the pieces are more numerous or smaller with shiver. That which is crushed or mashed is broken down under pressure; that which is mashed becomes a shapeless mass: sugar and rock are crushed into powder, small particles, or bits; apples are crushed or mashed into pulp in making cider; boiled potatoes are mashed, not crushed, in preparing them for the table.
  • To rush with violence; move rapidly and vehemently.
  • To use rapidity in performance, so as to display force seemingly without care, as in painting or writing.
  • n. A violent striking together of two bodies; collision.
  • n. A sudden check; frustration; abashment: as, his hopes met with a dash.
  • n. An impetuous movement; a quick stroke or blow; a sudden onset: as, to make a dash upon the enemy.
  • n. A small infusion or admixture; something mingled with something else, especially to qualify or adulterate it: as, the wine has a dash of water.
  • n. The capacity for unhesitating, prompt action, as against an enemy; vigor in attack: as, the corps was distinguished for dash.
  • n. A flourish; an ostentatious parade.
  • n. In writing and printing, a horizontal stroke or line of varying length, used as a mark of punctuation and for other purposes; specifically, in printing, a type the face of which consists of such a line.
  • n. In printing, also, a line (variously modified in form) used for the separation of distinct portions of matter, as the parallel dash , the double dash , the diamond or swell dash , etc.
  • n. Any short mark or line.
  • n. In music: The short stroke placed over or under a note by which a staccato effect is indicated. See staccato.
  • n. The line or stroke drawn through a figure in thoroughbass which indicates that the tone signified by the figure is to be chromatically raised a semitone.
  • n. In harpsichord-music, a coulé (which see).
  • n. In zoology, a longitudinal mark, generally rounded and clearly defined at one end, and tapering or gradually becoming indistinct at the other, as if produced by a drop of colored liquid dashed obliquely against the surface, or by the rough stroke of a pen. Such marks are very common on the wings of the Lepidoptera.
  • n. A present made by a trader to a chief on the western coast of Africa to secure permission to traffic with the natives.
  • n. Same as dash-board.
  • n. In sporting, a short race decided in one attempt, not in heats: as, a hundred-yard dash.
  • n. A present or gratuity; a cumshaw.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. add an enlivening or altering element to
  • v. cause to lose courage
  • n. a punctuation mark (-) used between parts of a compound word or between the syllables of a word when the word is divided at the end of a line of text
  • n. the longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code
  • v. break into pieces, as by striking or knocking over
  • v. destroy or break
  • n. a quick run
  • n. the act of moving with great haste
  • n. distinctive and stylish elegance
  • v. run or move very quickly or hastily
  • v. hurl or thrust violently
  • n. a footrace run at top speed


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English dashen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish daske, to beat.
Alteration of damn.



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  • "'The currency the whites used to buy people fell into several categories, the most important of which was cloth, in the volume traded,' he said softly. 'In addition to cloth, there were firearms and ammunition, metal goods, such as axes and swords, and many different types of liquor. The last items were trinkets, like glass beads, gun flints, and clay tobacco pipes, which were bonuses or 'dashes.' A 'dash' was a tip thrown in at the end of the deal."

    —Edward Ball, Slaves in the Family (NY: Ballantine Books, 1998), 428–429

    See also bar.

    October 13, 2009

  • A dash: -

    March 17, 2009

  • More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

    'Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

    On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

    To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

    Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!'

    - Clement Clarke Moore, 'A Visit From St. Nicholas'.

    November 3, 2008

  • The dash was originally a liquid measure of indefinite amount used in food & drink recipes. More recently, it's been used as both a liquid and dry measure, and kitchen supply stores have begun selling measuring spoon sets in which the "dash" spoon holds exactly 1/8 teaspoon (about 0.02 fluid ounce or 0.6 milliliter).

    November 6, 2007