nouninformal, dated in singular
Used for emphasis, or to express annoyance or surprise when asking questions.
- ‘ what the dickens is going on?’
- ‘they work like the dickens’
- ‘On a bad day, the knees and hips that haven't already been replaced hurt like the dickens.’
- ‘‘It hurt like the dickens,’ the first-term congressman said.’
- ‘He is in a dickens of a bind, it seems to me, morally, ethically, and legally.’
- ‘This is going to hurt like the dickens, but you'll have to bear with it.’
- ‘And daylilies bloom like the dickens in coastal Southern California, even outflowering roses.’
Late 16th century a euphemism for ‘devil’, probably a use of the surname Dickens.
Are You Learning English? Here Are Our Top English Tips