Definitions

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

  • noun A reprimand or expression of anger.
  • noun Used as an intensive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The deuce: used interjectionally, with the definite article (formerly sometimes with the indefinite).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A vulgar euphemism. The devil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun euphemistic The devil.
  • noun In the phrase the dickens (Used as an intensifier).

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

  • noun English writer whose novels depicted and criticized social injustice (1812-1870)
  • noun a word used in exclamations of confusion

Etymologies

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

[Alteration of devil (influenced by the name Dickens).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin: 1590–1600; apparently a fanciful use of the proper name Dicken, form of Dick.

Examples

Comments

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  • "... and then shin for the raft like the dickens was after you!" HF 23

    December 7, 2006

  • Corruption of "Old Nick" - the Devil. (via NPR's Says You)

    August 6, 2011