Posted by ESC on January 12, 2001
In Reply to: "...as the dickens" posted by Aurora on January 11, 2001
: Is there anyone out there who knows the origin of this phrase?? it is used, I know, to describe just about anything, ie. "hot as the dickens," "cold as the dickens," etc...but I cant seem to figure out where it came from...
"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).