Posted by ESC on February 10, 2004
In Reply to: Scared the Dickens out of me posted by Henry on February 10, 2004
: : Does anyone know of the origins for the phrase "Scared the Dickens out of me?" I assume it has at least SOMETHING to do with Charles Dickens but I really can't come up with a strong link on my own....
: What the dickens! is a euphemistic way of saying What the devil! The phrase can be found in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor.
"Dickens" is a euphemism for "devil" as in "'what the dickens,'an expression common centuries before Charles Dickens was born, having been used by Shakespeare in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'." "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).