Definition of dicker in English:



[no object]North American
  • 1Engage in petty argument or bargaining.

    ‘Sam advised him not to dicker over the extra fee’
    • ‘It reminded me of Florence in August, the big central maidan, or square, crammed with rug and souvenir shops whose owners were busily dickering with foreign tourists.’
    • ‘We're willing to do that once, because, except for a few economists, no one really wants to keep dickering over each new sliver of value.’
    • ‘What are the criteria that enables you to see over the horizon whether this customer's still worth dickering with?’
    • ‘But for the last six months there has been no county counsel, as the board dickers over whom to hire for the job.’
    • ‘By dickering over what constitutes a strong enough tradition of openness, the courts were able to turn what should have been an objective, or at least fact-based, inquiry into a subjective, opinion-based one.’
    • ‘Reaching out to touch her collar, he smiled; ‘And what do you think this trader you're going to dicker with is going to think when you walk in wearing this?’’
    • ‘I don't want to dicker so I'm fine with the offer, which is about $20K less than the asking price.’
    • ‘He sits in Beane's office as the GM dickers over trades with opposing team officials.’
    • ‘But the plan has stalled as Morocco and Polisario dicker over who is eligible to vote in the referendum.’
    • ‘They would spend their time dickering over how to get more of their expenses cleared.’
    • ‘His arrogance and ineptitude were on fine display Tuesday, when he dickered over the word torture.’
    • ‘What ‘buyers are liars’ means for you as a seller is that the family that spends a lot of time dickering may never end up making a written offer.’
    • ‘She studies up on car prices and features before she starts dickering to buy an automobile.’
    • ‘The new audience would be all of those who have ever figured they were getting screwed when they tried to argue for a raise, dicker with cantankerous suppliers, sell a used car, or buy a new house.’
    • ‘In Simms's world, there is no reason anymore for shoppers to visit a classic used-car lot, where they might see a selection of 150 or so cars that forces them to figure out what comes closest to their desires - and then to dicker over price.’
    • ‘‘Let's not dicker over minor issues,’ says Prof. Zhang Yansheng of Beijing's Central University of Finance and Economics.’
    • ‘If the price is $30, and Coburn wants to pay $25, she will offer $20, allowing room for dickering.’
    • ‘I'll only mention briefly the fact that other Remote Viewers who have applied for the prize, all backed out, some after several years of dickering over details of the protocol.’
    • ‘I don't know, but I do have a prediction: the parties will continue dickering until the last possible moment.’
    • ‘They dicker and dicker and do everything they can to avoid paying for it.’
    haggle, barter, negotiate, discuss terms, hold talks, deal, wheel and deal, trade, traffic
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  • 2Toy or fiddle with.

    ‘the company was still dickering with its pricing schedule’
    • ‘For my money, the whole point of making/charging the sigil is to dicker around with one's subconscious mind, and thus dicker around with causality.’
    • ‘So you can, you know, dicker around with it, which the Republicans love to do, but the reality is things are better.’
    • ‘Nobody dickered with it, she had to find the best cameraman she could, to get a print as clean and as fresh as that.’
    • ‘My most successful project has been dickering with the random search device at my place of work.’


Early 19th century (originally US): perhaps from obsolete dicker ‘set of ten (hides’), used as a unit of trade, based on Latin decem ‘ten’.