Definition of dickens in English:

dickens

Pronunciation /ˈdikənz/ /ˈdɪkənz/

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noun

in singular
  • 1informal, dated Used for emphasis, euphemistically invoking the Devil.

    • ‘they work like the dickens’
    • ‘she was in a dickens of a rush’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1the dickensUsed when asking questions to express annoyance or surprise.
      • ‘ what the dickens is going on?’
      • ‘I can tell members that many of the passengers sitting in their seats did not know what the dickens was going on, and did not know what the dickens to do about it.’
      • ‘I guarantee that the average guy out in Kiwiland will say: ‘What the dickens is that telling me?’’
      • ‘I think the public of New Zealand, when they get to know these sorts of facts, will wonder what the dickens we do in this House.’
      • ‘But the question comes to mind that, if we are short of judges, why the dickens did we create the Supreme Court, which created a need for more judges?’
      • ‘Where the dickens is this Government taking this country?’

Origin

Late 16th century a euphemism for ‘devil’, probably a use of the surname Dickens.