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Related to Dickensian: Charles Dickens
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(as) hot as the dickens

old-fashioned slang Extremely and uncomfortably hot. On summer days in Texas, when it's hot as the dickens outside, there's nothing quite like a tall glass of sweet tea. I hate working in the theme park during the summer because it's as hot as the dickens in the costumes they make us wear.
See also: dickens, hot


1. The devil. Typically used as an intensifier. What the dickens is going on in here? I heard that loud bang all the way down the hall.
2. A mischievous child. A: "Ella just pulled over a chair so she could reach the cookies on the high shelf." B: "Boy, she's a clever little dickens, that's for sure."

go to hell

1. rude slang An expression of angry dismissal or contempt. How can you say such an awful thing to me? Go to hell!
2. verb To deteriorate to a state of extreme disorder, corruption, or depravity. The whole department has gone to hell ever since you stepped down as manager.
See also: go, hell

like the devil

An intensifier used when one puts forth great effort to do something. I'm planning to fight like the devil against this illness, so I'm researching both Western and Eastern methods of treatment. We've been working like the devil to get the update finished before the Christmas break.
See also: devil, like

like the dickens

An intensifier used when one puts forth great effort to do something. I'm planning to fight like the dickens against this illness, so I'm researching both Western and Eastern methods of treatment. We've been working like the dickens to get the update finished before the Christmas break.
See also: dickens, like

raise the dickens

To cause or get into trouble; to engage in unrestrained and excessively disruptive behavior. I started raising the dickens as soon as I was in college and could do what I wanted, but I mellowed out after I graduated. The customer has been raising the dickens about the service charge we included on his bill.
See also: dickens, raise

raise the dickens with (someone or something)

1. To cause a lot of serious issues or disruptions for someone or something. The road closures have raised the dickens with rush-hour traffic. The blizzard is raising the dickens with travelers flying in and out of the region.
2. To make a lot of angry, vocal complaints with someone or some group, department, organization, etc. There's been one customer raising the dickens with our customer service team for the last week over some issue with his software. The problem isn't going to go away on its own—you need to go raise some the dickens with your boss or the head of HR.
See also: dickens, raise

scare the dickens out of (one)

To shock or frighten one very suddenly or severely. "Dickens" is a euphemism for "devil." Don't sneak up on me like that—you scared the dickens out of me! The sound of the fire alarm scared the dickens out of us this morning.
See also: dickens, of, out, scare

what (in) the dickens

An exclamation used to emphasize surprise, shock, or bafflement. Just what the dickens is going on here? What in the dickens? I just put my sandwich down, and now it's gone!
See also: dickens, what
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go to hell

 and go to (the devil) 
1. Inf. to go to hell and suffer the agonies therein. (Often a command. Caution with hell.) Oh, go to hell! Go to hell, you creep!
2. Inf. to become ruined; to go away and stop bothering someone. (Use hell with caution.) This old house is just going to hell. It's falling apart everywhere. Leave me alone! Go to the devil! Oh, go to, yourself!
See also: go, hell

*like the devil

 and *like the dickens; *like hell
Fig. with a fury; in a great hurry; with a lot of activity. (*Typically: fight ~; run ~; scream ~; thrash around~.) We were working like the dickens when the rain started and made us quit for the day.
See also: devil, like

raise the dickens (with someone or something)

to act in some extreme manner; to make trouble; to behave wildly; to be very angry. John was out all night raising the dickens. That cheap gas I bought really raised the dickens with my car's engine.
See also: dickens, raise

What (in) the devil?

 and What (in) the dickens?
Inf. What has happened?; What? (Often with the force of an exclamation.) What in the devil? Who put sugar in the salt shaker? What the dickens? Who are you? What are you doing in my room?
See also: what

What the devil?

 and What the fuck?; What the hell?; What the shit?
What has happened?; What? (Often with the force of an exclamation. What the fuck? and What the shit? are taboo.) What the devil? Who put sugar in the salt shaker? What the fuck? Who are you? What are you doing in my room? What the shit are you doing here? You're supposed to be at work.
See also: what

You scared the hell out of me.

 and You scared the crap out of me.; You scared the dickens out of me.; You scared the devil out of me.; You scared me out of my wits.; You scared the pants off (of) me.
You frightened me very badly. (Also with subjects other than second person. Of is usually retained before pronouns.) He scared the hell out of all of us. She really scared the pants off of me.
See also: hell, of, out, scare
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

go to hell

Also, go to the devil or dickens . Go to everlasting torment, ruin, or perdition. For example, Nancy did not mince words but simply told him to go the devil, or Go to hell, Tom, I won't give you another cent. These phrases are often uttered as angry imperatives to order someone to go away. Hell, devil, and dickens (a euphemism for "devil") all refer to the underworld, the residence of the devil, from which a person would never return.
See also: go, hell
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

go to hell

1. If you say that someone can go to hell, you mean that you do not care about them or their opinions and that you do not want anything to do with them. I certainly don't care what Sylvia thinks — she can go to hell. If he's going to treat my children like that, he can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.
2. If you say that a thing or an activity can go to hell, you mean that you do not care if you do not have it or do it. All the talking and coffee-drinking could go to hell as far as he was concerned.
3. If you tell someone to go to hell, you tell them angrily to go away. If he dares to complain, tell him to go to hell. Compare with be going to hell.
See also: go, hell
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

like the devil (or a demon)

with great speed or energy.
See also: devil, like
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

like the ˈdevil

(old-fashioned, informal) very fast, hard, etc: We had to work like the devil to be finished on time.I ran like the devil, but I still missed the bus.
See also: devil, like

go to ˈhell

(spoken, offensive) used to tell somebody to go away or to stop saying/doing something because it is annoying: He wanted to come back but she told him to go to hell.‘Why don’t you answer my question, Jim?’ ‘Oh, go to hell, will you? I’m tired of your stupid questions.’
See also: go, hell
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


1. and the dickens n. the devil. (Always with the in this sense.) I felt as bad as the dickens, but what could I do?
2. n. a devilish or impish child. (Also a term of address. Usually with little.) You are such a cute little dickens!

the dickens

See also: dickens

What the devil?

See also: what
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Dickensian centred around a world where Dickens characters from works including Oliver Twist, Bleak House and Great Expectations collided.
We meet Mr and Mrs Bumble when they are running a London workhouse opposite the Three Cripples Inn, which is the main scene of action for Dickensian. They are at a point in their lives where Mrs Bumble feels they should be living a better, wealthier life and we see her try to force her husband into improving their lot.
Including major works by leading nineteenth century artists including Frith, Fildes, and Hicks as well works from Dickens' own art collection, the exhibition displays the Dickensian vision in Victorian painting.
That said, I am hooked already on Little Dorrit (Amy, played by Claire Foy, above), the Dickensian yarn that's been souped-up and soaped-up like the Beeb's previous adaptation of Bleak House for those of us who like our drama twice weekly with an omnibus.
Still, at least I won't look an absolute tool as I shuffle meekly along Ascot High Street decked out like some Dickensian undertaker.
Yet the average child worker is not a Dickensian tot toiling in a sweatshop but a child working alongside a parent on a farm or in the underground economy to help feed, shelter and clothe the family.
Well known for his diverse choreographic styles and his respect for the classics, Welch (who is also Houston Ballet's artistic director) reinterprets the Russian fairy tale about a mythical bird who darts through the enchanted mists, setting it in Dickensian London, with costumes by Holly Hynes and a black-box set by Welch.
A further economic boom brought on by the advent of World War I saw yet more expansion, a big increase in the number of factories in the southern part of the city and a mass influx of migrant laborers searching for a pot of gold in the Dickensian slums.
a true suspect and, on the other side, the man who is utterly undiscoverable, the hidden man." Poe's text, to which literary critics attribute Dickensian ambitions, moors the mystery of the city in its dynamism and anonymity.
We have little insight on what makes the nuns--brutal authoritarians of a Dickensian stripe--tick.
Though such boys bring to mind Dickensian ragamuffins replete with floppy hats and short pants made from potato sacks, the modern Euro-dickhead wears white track-pants and weird shirts, many with mock turtle necks and extraneous panels and zippers.
His Dickensian view of life drove him to paint the world as he would like it to be--no drunken fathers or self-centered mothers, only kindly doctors, duty-bound soldiers, and regular folks at their daily occupations.
WINDSOR -- An echo of Dickensian England is being heard in the Ontario Courts.