Share this entry

dickens Line breaks: dick|ens
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪkɪnz/

Definition of dickens in English:


[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.

Definition of dickens in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful