One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A penis.phallus, member, male member, organ, male organ, sex, erectionView synonyms
- 1.1 A stupid or contemptible man.idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clodscoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doerView synonyms
- 1.1 A stupid or contemptible man.
2North American with negative Anything at all.‘you don't know dick about this—you haven't a clue!’
1informal 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
2with object (of a man) have sexual intercourse with (someone).
Mid 16th century (in the general sense ‘fellow’): pet form of the given name Richard. Sense 1 of the noun dates from the late 18th century.
- ‘Our city's private dicks are mostly double-dipping police pensioners.’
- ‘She's the English version of a hard-boiled dick, tougher than most all her country's male detectives, public or private.’
- ‘Set in Los Angeles, the show follows the tradition of the hardboiled dicks portrayed by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Ross McDonald.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Early 20th century: perhaps an arbitrary shortening of detective, or from obsolete slang dick ‘look’, from Romany.
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