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cgs   Link to this

[Not found in OE. or ME. App. adopted in the end of the ME. period from Flemish or other LG. dialect (with modification of sense, perh. ironical or humorous): cf. MDu. dapper powerful, strong, stout, energetic, in mod.Du., valiant, brave, bold, MLG. dapper heavy, weighty, steady, stout, persevering, undaunted, OHG. tapfar, MHG. tapfer heavy, weighty, firm, in late MHG. and mod.G., warlike, brave. The sense of ON. dapr ‘sad, downcast’ appears to be developed from that of ‘heavy’. Possibly cognate with OSlav. dobr{ubreve} good.]

1. Of persons: Neat, trim, smart, spruce in dress or appearance. (Formerly appreciative; now more or less depreciative, with associations of littleness or pettiness; cf. b.)
c1440...
b. esp. Applied to a little person who is trim or smart in his ways and movements: ‘little and active, lively without bulk’ (J).
1606 ...
2. transf. Of animals and things.
1579...
1592 GREENE Upst. Courtier in Harl. Misc. (Malh.) II. 218 A little daper flowre like a ground hunnisuckle.

. as n. A dapper fellow. Obs.
1709
.........

not a dapperling?
[f. DAPPER a. + -LING: cf. weakling.]

A little dapper fellow.
1611 COTGR., Nambot, a dwarfe; elfe, little starueling; a dandiprat, or low dapperling. 1829 CARLYLE Signs of Times Misc. (1888) II. 246 An intellectual dapperling of these times.

cgs   Link to this

dick dicker dickey turn up some old/new meanings:

dicky, dickey, n.
I. As applied to persons.

1. Naut. (See quot.)
1867 SMYTH Sailor's Word-bk., Dickey, an officer acting in commission.

II. As a name applied to animals.

2. A donkey; properly, a he-ass.
First noted in East Anglia and Essex, now widely known.
1793 Gentl. Mag. II. 1083 A Donky, or a Dicky. An ass. Essex and Suffolk. 1818

dicky, dickey, a.

[Etymol. not ascertained.]

Of inferior quality, sorry, poor; in bad condition, unsound, shaky, ‘queer’.
1812 J. H. VAUX Flash Dict., Dicky..very bad or paltry; any thing of an inferior quality, is said to be a dicky concern.

dick:
1 A leather apron.
1847-78
2[Cf. DIKE and DITCH.]

a. A ditch. b. The bank of a ditch; a dike.
1736
3: Abbreviation of dictionary; hence, ‘Fine language, long words’ (Slang Dict.).
1860

4:In phr. to take one's dick = to take one's declaration.
1861

5: A detective; a policeman.
1908
dickens

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[App. substituted for ‘devil’, as having the same initial sound. It has been suggested to be worn down from devilkin or deilkin, but no evidence of this has been found. Dickin or Dickon, dim. of Dick (cf. Wilkin, Watkin, Jankin or Jenkin, Simkin) was in use long before the earliest known instance of this, and Dickens as a surname was probably also already in existence.]

The deuce, the devil. a. the dickens! (formerly also a dickens!) an interjectional exclamation expressing astonishment, impatience, irritation, etc.; usually with interrogative words, as what, where, how, why, etc. (Cf. DEUCE, DEVIL.)
1598 SHAKES. Merry W. III. ii. 19, I cannot tell what (the dickens) his name is.

b. in imprecations, as the dickens take you!; also in phr. to go to the dickens, to go to ruin or perdition; to play the dickens, to cause mischief or havoc.
1653 URQUHART Rabelais I. Prol., Hearken joltheads..or dickens take ye.

1656 BLOUNT Glossogr., Dickins, a corruption of Devilkins, i. little Devils; as tis usually said, the Dickens take you

dicker, n.1

The number of ten; half a score; being the customary unit of exchange in dealing in certain articles, esp. hides or skins; hence a package or lot of (ten) hides.
Its use in the skin trade appears to be the only one in continental languages; in English it has been extended to some other goods; the dicker (dicra or dacra) of iron in Domesday is generally held to have been ten rods, each sufficient to make two horse-shoes.
{alpha} [1086 Domesday I. lf. 162a, T.R.E. reddebat civitas de Glowecestre...xxxvi. d icras ferri.

1275 Placita in Curiis Magnat. Angliæ, Per iij diker' de coriis bovinis.] 1266-1307

b. transf. A considerable number; a ‘lot’, a ‘heap’. Obs.
1580 SIDNEY Arcadia III. (1622) 393 Behold, said Pas, a whole dicker of wit. 1596 NASHE Saffron Walden 2 Such a huge dicker of Dickes in a heape altogether. 1602 Narcissus (1893) 686 On my love kisses I heape a dicker.
1641 R. BRATHWAIT Engl. Intelligencer I, Newes, Althea, I have a whole dicker of newes for thee.

1676 MARVELL Mr. Smirke 33 But if the Dean foresee that 'tis a very vendible Book, he..sends up for a whole Dicker of 'em to retaile.

The action or practice of dickering; barter; petty bargaining. Also, a deal, bargain; articles or commodities as a medium of exchange or payment.
1823

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References

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