devil; deuce (usually preceded by the and often used in exclamations and as a mild imprecation): The dickens you say! What the dickens does he want?

1590–1600; apparently a fanciful use of Dicken, form of Dick, proper name

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Charles (John Huf·fam) [huhf-uhm] , ("Boz") 1812–70, English novelist.

Dickensian [dih-ken-zee-uhn] , adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dickens (ˈdɪkɪnz)
informal a euphemistic word for devil : what the dickens?
[C16: from the name Dickens]

Dickens (ˈdɪkɪnz)
Charles (John Huffam), pen name Boz. 1812--70, English novelist, famous for the humour and sympathy of his characterization and his criticism of social injustice. His major works include The Pickwick Papers (1837), Oliver Twist (1839), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), Old Curiosity Shop (1840--41), Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), Little Dorrit (1857), and Great Expectations (1861)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

exclamation, 1598, probably altered from Dickon, nickname for Richard and source of the surnames Dickens and Dickenson, but exact derivation and meaning are unknown.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

dickens definition

  1. n.
    the dickens the devil. (Always with the in this sense.) : I felt as bad as the dickens, but what could I do?
  2. n.
    a devilish or impish child. (Also a term of address. Usually with little.) : You are such a cute little dickens!
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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