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a deuce of a (something)

An exceptionally bad or difficult thing, activity, or person. This is a deuce of an assignment—I can't understand the first thing about it! Boy, that is a deuce of a haircut. You're going to go out in public like that?
See also: deuce, of

like the deuce

Very quickly or wildly. I ran like the deuce to fetch the doctors. The wind in these parts will start whipping like the deuce after nightfall, so you should stay indoors once it gets dark outside.
See also: deuce, like

there will be the deuce to pay

There will be a huge amount of trouble (if a particular thing does/does not happen or is/is not done). There'll be the deuce to pay if they catch us sneaking out this late at night! If you don't have that report finished by lunch, there will be the deuce to pay!
See also: deuce, pay, there, will


slang A .22-caliber gun. "Deuce" is a slang term for "two." Watch out for that guy—he's got a deuce-deuce on him.

What the deuce?

Sl. What has happened?; What? (Deuce is an old word for devil.) What the deuce! Who are you? What the deuce! Who did this?
See also: what

a (or the) deuce of a —

something very bad or difficult of its kind.
1933 John Galsworthy The End of the Chapter It seems there's a deuce of a fuss in the Bolivian papers.
See also: deuce, of

the deuce to pay

trouble to be expected.
See also: deuce, pay

like the deuce

very fast.
Deuce was first used in 17th-century English in various exclamatory expressions in which it was equated with ‘bad luck’ or ‘mischief’, because in dice-playing two (= deuce) is the lowest and most unlucky throw. From this there soon developed the sense of deuce as ‘the devil’ (i.e. bad luck or mischief personified). Deuce as a euphemism for the devil occurs in a number of expressions, including those above.
See also: deuce, like


1. n. the devil. (Always with the.) I’ll knock the deuce out of you if you come around here again.
2. n. the two in playing cards. If I could only get a deuce.
3. n. two dollars. Can you loan me a deuce till payday?
4. n. a two-year prison sentence. (Underworld.) The DA made sure that Mooshoo got more than a deuce.
5. n. a table for two. Give the next couple the deuce over in the corner.


n. a .22-caliber pistol. (Streets.) My buddy popped his uncle with a deuce-deuce.


n. the number twenty-two. The National Weather Service says it’s going down to the double-deuces tonight.

What the deuce?

interrog. What has happened?; What? (Deuce is an old word for devil.) What the deuce! Who are you?
See also: what

Who the deuce?

interrog. Who? (An elaboration of who. The deuce is the devil. See examples for variations.) Who the deuce do you think you are?
See also: who
References in periodicals archive ?
Over the coming year, Deuce will compete in the country's most prestigious shows and may go to Crufts, the Westminster of England.
Deuce knows TJ could not commit these crimes and so heads for Europe to clear his name.
Determined to clear TJ's name, Deuce reluctantly returns to the escort industry, competing against the European Union of prostitutes to pleasure some of the west's most dysfunctional women.
Deuce (Rob Schneider) is a male prostitute, who gives up his trade when he marries.
Agassi was serving at deuce in the first game of the fourth set when the rain came.
says the Dearborn Deuce isn't all that different from the prototype die programs his company does for the Big Three: "We take the CAD data, use it to produce a foam pattern that is packed in sand, then filled with molten zinc alloy, and mill the dies to their final shape.
Henman held serve in the next game, although Ketola forced deuce before smashing the ball long and then into the net.
The DEUCE enables light infantry and airborne engineers to prepare airstrips, roads, and protective positions, while keeping pace with the ground forces.
Personally I can only speak knowledgeably to 'The Deuce.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is pleased to introduce the 2017 $2 Triple Deuce Currency Set.
When Deuce (Rob Schneider, top) accidentally smashes his priceless fish tank, he too must start selling his body to pay off the debt.
Terri Collins owns 5-year-old Deuce, whose registered name is CH Vinelake Collinswood Yablon OA OAJ, and said Deuce is a troublemaker who loves playing in the mud and chasing a giant ball around the yard.
She trailed 0-40 in the sixth before coming back to deuce.
Throughout its history, the Joffrey Ballet has prided itself on its ability to move back and forth between the masterpieces of 20th century dance (from Petrouchka to The Green Table) and such new works as Robert Joffrey's Astarte (1967) and Twyla Tharp's Deuce Coupe (1973), which picked up on the pop vibes of the moment.
The DEUCE is a tough workhorse that needs lots of PM while working in the rough stuff.