One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural dilliesNorth American
usually in singular An excellent example of a particular type of person or thing.‘that's a dilly of a breakfast recipe’
- ‘If the case holds us upon real scrutiny, it's going to be a dilly.’
- ‘The nameless viewpoint racer is making 'one last run', and it's a dilly.’
- ‘At only $14.95 it's a dilly of a deal for this long sold-out series, previously available only in hardcover (if you could find it).’
- ‘This is their first effort to publish a shotshell reloading manual, and it's a dilly.’
Late 19th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘delightful’): alteration of the first syllable of delightful or delicious.
adjectivedillier, dilliestAustralian, NZ
eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, quirky, avant-garde, unconventional, off-centre, strange, outlandish, ridiculous, ludicrousView synonyms
- ‘She'll get it dirty, get it trodden on, silly, dilly girl.’
- ‘‘This is a double dilly sale,’ the youth desperately screams, then cocks his head in amazement of the sentence he just uttered.’
Late 19th century: perhaps a blend of daft and silly.
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