from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To damn.
  • intransitive verb To move with haste; rush.
  • intransitive verb To strike violently; smash.
  • intransitive verb To break or smash by striking violently.
  • intransitive verb To hurl, knock, or thrust with sudden violence.
  • intransitive verb To remove by striking or wiping.
  • intransitive verb To splash; bespatter.
  • intransitive verb To write hastily. Often used with off.
  • intransitive verb To drink hastily. Often used with down.
  • intransitive verb To add an enlivening or altering element to.
  • intransitive verb To affect by adding another element or ingredient to.
  • intransitive verb To destroy or wreck: synonym: blast.
  • intransitive verb To discourage or dispirit.
  • noun A swift, violent blow or stroke.
  • noun A splash.
  • noun A small amount of an added ingredient.
  • noun A quick stroke, as with a pencil or brush.
  • noun A sudden movement; a rush.
  • noun Sports A footrace, usually less than a quarter-mile long, run at top speed from the outset.
  • noun A spirited quality in action or style; verve. synonym: vigor.
  • noun Either of two symbols, an emdash or an endash, used in writing and in printing.
  • noun In Morse and similar codes, the long sound or signal used in combination with the dot and silent intervals to represent letters or numbers.
  • noun A dashboard.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A present or gratuity; a cumshaw.
  • noun A violent striking together of two bodies; collision.
  • noun A sudden check; frustration; abashment: as, his hopes met with a dash.
  • noun An impetuous movement; a quick stroke or blow; a sudden onset: as, to make a dash upon the enemy.
  • noun A small infusion or admixture; something mingled with something else, especially to qualify or adulterate it: as, the wine has a dash of water.
  • noun The capacity for unhesitating, prompt action, as against an enemy; vigor in attack: as, the corps was distinguished for dash.
  • noun A flourish; an ostentatious parade.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Any short mark or line.
  • noun In music: The short stroke placed over or under a note by which a staccato effect is indicated. See staccato.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In harpsichord-music, a coulé (which see).
  • noun 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.
  • noun A present made by a trader to a chief on the western coast of Africa to secure permission to traffic with the natives.
  • noun Same as dash-board.
  • noun In sporting, a short race decided in one attempt, not in heats: as, a hundred-yard dash.
  • 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.


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

[Middle English dashen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish daske, to beat.]

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

[Alteration of damn.]



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  • 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

  • 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

  • A dash: -

    March 17, 2009

  • "'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