- (euphemistic) The devil.
- She can go to the dickens for what she said.
- Used as an intensifier.
- Why the dickens did he do that?
- It is cold as the dickens out here!
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii], page 49, column 1:
- I cannot tell what the dickens his name / is that my husband had him of. What do you call your / knight's name, sirrah?
- 1918, Burroughs, Edgar Rice, chapter IV, in The Land That Time Forgot:
- "That's it," I exclaimed, "--that's just the taste exactly, though I haven't experienced it since boyhood; but how can water from a flowing stream, taste thus, and what the dickens makes it so warm? It must be at least 70 or 80 Fahrenheit, possibly higher."
- (intensifier): See Thesaurus:the dickens