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See also: Dice



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A picture of two wooden dice.


Etymology 1Edit

  • Middle English dys, plural of dy.
  • The voiceless /s/ was most likely retained because the word felt like a collective term rather than a plural form (compare pence). The spelling dice is a result of the pronunciation.
  • See die Etymology 2.


dice (plural dice or dices)

  1. (uncountable) Gaming with one or more dice.
    • 1899, Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness:
      Or think of a decent young citizen in a toga—perhaps too much dice, you know—coming out here in the train of some prefect, or tax-gatherer, or trader even, to mend his fortunes.
    • 1964, Theodosius Grigorievich Dobzhansky, Heredity and the nature of man:
      On the other hand, evolution is not a matter of chance, even in the sense in which a game of dice is a game of chance.
    • 1972, (translation), Einstein: The Life and Times, Avon Books
      I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.
      (Original: Jedenfalls bin ich überzeugt, dass der Alte nicht würfelt. December 4, 1926. Albert Einstein. Born-Einstein Letters. Trans. Irene Born. New York: Walker and Company, 1971.)
    • 1990, Ivar Ekeland, Mathematics and the Unexpected, page 67:
      The problem is that no one can throw a die twice in precisely the same way, and this is why dice is a game of chance and not a skill.
  2. (countable, proscribed by some; standard in British English) A die.
    • 1980, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, “The Winner Takes It All”, Super Trouper, Polar Music
      The gods may throw a dice / Their minds as cold as ice
    • 1945, Lawrence Durrell, Prospero's Cell: A Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corfu:
      A white house set like a dice on a rock already venerable with the scars of wind and water.
    • 2009, Hubert L. Dreyfus, Mark A. Wrathall, A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism, page 106:
      When we see a dice, we see an object which has six sides, some of which can be seen from where we are, others can be seen if we twist it or move around it.
  3. (uncountable, formerly countable, cooking) That which has been diced.
    Cut onions, carrots and celery into medium dice.
    • 1782, Tobias George Smollett, The history and adventures of the renowned Don Quixote, 5 edition, translation of original by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra:
      If your worship is inclined to take a small draught of good wine, though not very cool, I have here a calabash full of the best, and some dices of Tronchon cheese
Usage notesEdit
  • The game of dice is singular. Thus in "Dice is a game played with dice," the first occurrence is singular, the second occurrence is plural.
  • Otherwise, the singular usage is considered incorrect by many authorities. However, it should be noted that The New Oxford Dictionary of English, Judy Pearsall, Patrick Hanks (1998) states that “In modern standard English, the singular die (rather than dice) is uncommon. Dice is used for both the singular and the plural.”
  • Die is predominant among tabletop gamers.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From the noun.


dice (third-person singular simple present dices, present participle dicing, simple past and past participle diced)

  1. (intransitive) To play dice.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      I [] diced not above seven times a week.
    • 1999, George RR Martin, A Clash of Kings, Bantam 2011, p. 407:
      Tyrion found Timmett dicing with his Burned Men in the barracks.
  2. (transitive) To cut into small cubes.
  3. (transitive) To ornament with squares, diamonds, or cubes.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit



  1. plural of die





  1. present of dicer
  2. imperative of dicer





  1. second-person singular present active imperative of dīcō


  • dice in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • dice” in Félix Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette (1934)
  • dice in The Perseus Project (1999) Perseus Encyclopedia[1]
  • dice in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • dice in William Smith, editor (1848) A Dictionary of Greek Biography and Mythology, London: John Murray




  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) present indicative form of decir.
  2. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present indicative form of decir.
    • (“says”): 1615, Miguel de Cervantes, El ingenioso caballero Don Quijote de la Mancha, Segunda parte, Capítulo XXXII
      Digo, señor don Quijote -dijo la duquesa-, que en todo cuanto vuestra merced dice va con pie de plomo, y, como suele decirse, con la sonda en la mano; y que yo desde aquí adelante creeré [...] que hay Dulcinea en el Toboso, [...] merecedora que un tal caballero como es el señor don Quijote la sirva; que es lo más que puedo ni sé encarecer.
      “I say, Sir Don Quixote,” said the duchess, “that in all your mercy says, he goes with leaden feet, and as the saying goes, with sounding plummet in hand; and that I henceforth will believe, [...] that there is a Dulcinea in El Toboso, [...] deserving of such a knight as Sir Don Quixote in her service, which is the highest praise that I can give her.”




  1. ten