Definition of dicky in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdikē/

adjective (dickier, dickiest)

British informal
(Of a part of the body, a structure, or a device) not strong, healthy, or functioning reliably: a man with a dicky leg
More example sentences
  • Andy, because of his dicky heart was excused, and was put in charge of liberating different coloured pens from the heavily guarded stock cupboard to make the graph more interesting.
  • He is Val, or Uncle Val as he likes to be known, an old man with a generous streak, a dicky heart and a customised Roller.
  • If I were to wait until some kind of separate road system for cycles is introduced, a dicky heart would have taken me to my grave before I managed to get on my bike.


Late 18th century (in the sense 'almost over'): perhaps from the given name Dick, in the old saying as queer as Dick's hatband.

  • The informal British word dicky, meaning ‘not strong, healthy, or functioning reliably’, dates from the late 18th century, when it had the sense ‘almost over’. The origin is not certain, but it may be from the given name Dick, in the old saying as queer as Dick's hatband. The pet form of Richard may also be behind dicky bird, a child's name for a bird. In not a dicky bird, ‘nothing at all’, it is rhyming slang for ‘word’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dick·y

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