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The meaning and origin of the expression: Like the dickens

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Like the dickens

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  • Euphemism
  • What's the meaning of the phrase 'Like the dickens'?

    A lot; as in 'hurts Like the dickens'.

    What's the origin of the phrase 'Like the dickens'?

    This phrase has nothing to do with Charles Dickens. Dickens is a euphemism, specifically a minced-oath, for the word devil, possibly via devilkins.

    Shakespeare used 'dickens' in 'the Merry Wives of Windsor, 1600:

    I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of.

    Like the dickensSee other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

    See also: What the dickens.