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Related to dickens: like the dickens
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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

(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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

like the devil (or a demon)

with great speed or energy.
See also: devil, like

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


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
References in periodicals archive ?
This book--vast, panoramic, as fascinating as its intertwined subjects--will be of interest to social and urban historians, literary critics interested in sociocultural contexts, and lovers of Dickens and his London.
has gained more than Our Mutual Friend from the critical revaluation of Dickens that began around 1940" (134).
The resulting show, Adam Long's Dickens Abridged is a musical comedy that romps through Dickens' greatest hits - from Oliver Twist and Great Expectations to Bleak House and A Christmas Carol.
During the mid-19th century, Charles Dickens was editor of his own magazines: Household Words and All Year Round.
The readings considerably increased his visible celebrity, or rather, his exposure in the public sphere, for not only was Dickens now literally before the public, but so were the many images of him that proliferated at this time.
In 1867 Dickens embarked on an exhausting American tour and was reported to have made a profit of PS1,300 a week (an enormous sum in those days).
Rather it is Dickens' great-great-grandson, Gerald Dickens, who will perform his one-man show of "A Christmas Carol'' complete with Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Instead, the reader finds a fresh voice advocating character formation and virtue in what Dickens calls "Real Christianity," Authentic Christological Christianity is "committing to follow the example and teaching of Jesus; to imitate Jesus as we give our lives in service to others; to be forgiving, generous, and compassionate" (xvi) as his characters demonstrate in his novels.
This peculiar and flawed version, which appeared in 1873, was eulogized and acclaimed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, himself a firm believer in spiritualism and esoteric lore, very much in vogue in the late Victorian period, and it is well known that Dickens also embraced it.
Liverpool's Dickens and Galahad of Sheffield were scheduled to meet earlier this year in a fight for the vacant English crown.
As one of the many new studies of Dickens, Jonathan Grossman offers new readings of three of Dickens's novels, The Pickwick Papers, The Old Curiosity Shop and Little Dorrit, placing each within the context of transport history, ideas of communication and connectedness.
It was celebrated by a series of high-profile events in London, at which I was present, in my role as Trustee of the Charles Dickens Museum, which is located on Doughty Street, in one of his London homes.
I Began to read Charles Dickens two or three years after high school.
London, November 9 ( ANI ): A letter written by literary giant Charles Dickens in which he describes his own father as a 'jackass' for his recklessness with money is set to go under the hammer.