phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Dodgy and Dicey

Posted by Henry on May 14, 2003

In Reply to: Dodgy and Dicey posted by Lotg on May 14, 2003

: : : : : What are the origins of the words 'dodgy and dicey'? Both imply the same thing, but I can't see the connection between the actual words and their meaning when used in conversation.

: : : : : Thanks,
: : : : : Petalyn

: : : : : PS: I don't know if I spelt 'dicey' correctly either.

: : : : I think these are the derivations: "Dodgy" from "dodge," to evade, to act slippery and avoid being confronted. "Dicey" from "dice," connected with gambling, chance, randomness; = iffy. Isn't "dodgy" applied to people and "dicey" applied to situations?

: : : Not quite - well, not here in the UK, at least. As you rightly say, "dicey" is invariably applied to situations, and as has been said means risky or uncertain. "Dodgy" when applied to a situation means exactly the the same thing as "dicey". However, "dodgy" can also be applied to a person, then meaning untrustworthy or suspicious. "Iffy" is used in exactly the same way as "dodgy" over here, being equally applicable to both people and situations.

: : Here's one I don't believe, but I pass it on!
: : A dicey object or project is one of dubious character. The origin, as given on a BBC2 antiques programme in May 1999, is as follows.
: : There was once an unscrupulous 19thC map seller who used old, worn map plates to print new versions of the old maps and pass them off as genuine old originals. His name was Dicey!

: : Hmmm. Yes. That last one does sound a little dicey as well. But never impossible.

Swinging and Dodgy were the two catch-phrases popularised by Norman Vaughan as the compere of Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the 1960s. Swinging was accompanied by a thumbs-up, meaning satisfactory. Dodgy was accompanied by a thumbs-down, meaning the opposite.