phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The Phrase Finder

Home button Home | Search the website Search | Phrase Dictionary | Like the Dickens

The meaning and origin of the expression: Like the Dickens

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

Like the Dickens

Other phrases about:


A lot; as in 'hurts like the dickens'.


This phrase has nothing to do with Charles Dickens. Dickens is a euphemism, specifically a minced-oath, for the word devil, possibly via devilkins. Shakespeare used it in 'the Merry Wives of Windsor, 1600:

I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of.

Cobbe family portrait of William ShakespeareSee other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.