Definition of dickens in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdɪkɪnz/


[in singular] informal, dated
Used for emphasis, or to express annoyance or surprise when asking questions: what the dickens is going on? they work like the dickens
More example sentences
  • 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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dick|ens

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.