This expression is offered as a basic intensifier. Some usual collocations space hurts favor the dickens, run like the dickens, work-related like the dickens, miss you like the dickens, etc.

Origin that Like the Dickens

Believe it or not, this phrase actually has nothing to carry out with Charles Dickens, the renowned English writer.

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Dickens is a substitute for the word devil. Part people shot to prevent saying the word devil for religious reasons.

One the the most usual phrases making use of like the dickens is to say the something hurt favor the dickens. Because that example, that hurt favor the dickens. Other synonymous expressions that spiritual people could avoid include that hurt favor the devil or that hurt like hell.

Dickens very first appeared in the English playwright wilhelm Shakespeare’s Merry Wives the Windsor, indigenous the year 1600.

Examples of Like the Dickens

In this dialogue, a brother and sister are stating a surprising discovery.

Maria: those the matter? Why to be you screaming upstairs?

Franco: i was up in the attic searching for some old clothes when i heard a strange sound. After a moment, ns realized it to be a raccoon!

Maria: five my goodness!

Franco: It fear the dickens out of me.

Maria: i bet girlfriend ran favor the dickens together well.

Franco: ns did!

The 2nd example shows two university students who space complaining about the antics of their school’s president.

Lorenzo: Our college president is tho lying about his authorized in the scandal. I wish he would just admit what that did wrong. Anyone knows he is lying, and it’s simply making that look ridiculous.

Alba: Yeah, ns know. Unfortunately, i don’t think he’s capable of informing the truth. He lies choose the dickens every possibility he gets.

More Examples

The excerpt listed below is around a historic drama. On the show, the personalities who are component of British the aristocracy must come to be more contemporary or struggle to save their society more traditional.

This instance is a publication excerpt that a newspaper featured in their Lifestyle section. It supplies the expression to emphasize how strong the rain was.

Grammar and Usage

Although this expression has actually the definition of a lot, like the dickens acts as an intensifier, not just an lot of something. Therefore, don’t use it as soon as you might use a lot of.

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Correct: She ran like the dickens. (Here it defines how she ran as rapid as she could.)

Incorrect: She has actually like the dickens apple. (Some human being might think this method She has a lot of apples, but we cannot usage the expression in this way. This sounds prefer nonsense.)


The idiom like the dickens is an intensifier that method to a great degree.