One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounmass nounhumorous, dated
Action displaying heroic courage.‘tales of derring-do’
- ‘After decades of being considered bad form, tales of imperial derring-do are making something of a comeback.’
- ‘The story is fast-moving and filled with heroic derring-do, impressive action sequences, and deeply-felt tragedy.’
- ‘Now, I'm sure some of you with a more sceptical nature might find my tales of invisible derring-do a little hard to believe.’
- ‘The programme will be of interest to those who either know nothing about the siege, or who never tire of hearing the same violent tale of derring-do repeated time and again.’
- ‘‘I was keen to write a pantomime as a pastiche of a classic tale of derring-do,’ said Richard.’
Late 16th century: from late Middle English dorryng do ‘daring to do’, used by Chaucer, and, in a passage by Lydgate based on Chaucer's work, misprinted in 16th-century editions as derrynge do; this was misinterpreted by Spenser to mean ‘manhood, chivalry’, and subsequently taken up and popularized by Sir Walter Scott.
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