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

  • 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.
  • transitive verb To damn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A present or gratuity; a cumshaw.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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