No Dice

Posted by Bob on July 06, 2003

In Reply to: No Dice posted by Word Camel on July 06, 2003

: This means no luck or it won't work. Partridge (Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day) says it was first seen in print in 1942 but thinks it was common in the US since the 1920's. Anyway, I wondered if anyone had anything to add to that.

: Ms Camel

I can't testify to the age, but to clarify the usage: in many dice games, perhaps all, a die can fail to land flat, or fall off the playing surface, or land on top of another die. A player who throws a "cocked" die that lands almost flat, with a favorable number on top, may attempt to declare it, but the other players will say "no dice" in accordance with the rules, and require the thrower to re-throw all the dice, not just the one that landed badly. By extension, one says "no dice" to a dubious proposition, or an attempt to gain advantage by circumventing normal procedures. "Go back and start over" is built in.