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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?
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.
The number 22. "Deuce" is another word for the number two. A: "I hear you're double-deuces now." B: "Yeah, I am. It's not as exciting as when I turned 21."
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.
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!
what (in) the deuce
An exclamation used to emphasize surprise, shock, or bafflement. ("Deuce" is a minced oath in place of the word "devil.") Just what the deuce is going on here? What in the deuce? I just put my sandwich down, and now it's gone!
who the deuce
An emphatic way of forming any statement or question beginning with "who," typically when expressing frustration, anger, irritation, incredulousness, etc. Who the deuce ate my lunch? That's the third time this month! A: "Who the deuce was that guy?" B: "I dunno, just some weirdo, I guess." The game show gives you a lifetime supply of hot sauce if you win? Who the deuce would want that as their prize?
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.
the deuce to paytrouble to be expected.
like the deucevery 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.
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