Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: Perhaps from the name Dickens

dickens

noun
     
dickÔÇžens spoken old-fashioned
1

what/who/where the dickens ...?

used when asking a question to show that you are very surprised or angry:
What the dickens is the matter with her?
2

as pretty/smart etc as the dickens

American English very pretty, clever etc:
Isn't she as cute as the dickens!

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