2North American [with negative] Anything at all.‘you don't know dick about this—you haven't a clue!’
3short for dickhead
1[no object] Handle something inexpertly; meddle.‘he started dicking around with the controls’interfere, fiddle, fiddle about, fiddle around, play about, play around, tamper, meddle, tinker, monkey, monkey about, monkey aroundView synonyms
2[with object] (of a man) have sexual intercourse with (someone)
Mid 16th century (in the general sense fellow): nickname for the given name Richard. dick dates from the late 18th century.
- ‘The image of a private dick gazing out his office window, a Lucky in one and a stiff drink in the other, is nearly a cliche.’
- ‘Our city's private dicks are mostly double-dipping police pensioners.’
- ‘Williams agrees and Kelso becomes a private dick, trying to work out the details of the murder and to free Williams, for whom he has developed a good bit of respect and admiration.’
- ‘Set in Los Angeles, the show follows the tradition of the hardboiled dicks portrayed by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Ross McDonald.’
- ‘She's the English version of a hard-boiled dick, tougher than most all her country's male detectives, public or private.’
Early 20th century: perhaps an arbitrary shortening of detective, or from obsolete slang dick look from Romany.