dickish and dick

beautiful high

Banned
Urdu - Pakistan
There are plenty of dicks out there, and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you notice someone—or maybe even yourself—conforming to any of the following types, or displaying any of the following behaviors, then you know you’re dealing with a dick. And recognizing dickishness in action is the first step toward minimizing the overall impact of dickishness in the world. This list is intended as a brief introduction to the types of dickish behavior you’re most likely to encounter in your daily life.
What does "dickish" and "dick" mean? It doesn't seem to mean "penis"!

<Moderator note: quotation shortened to 4 sentences, the maximum length permitted. Nat>
 
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  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The quotation seems to be from How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty.

    It is always useful to provide the source of the quotation.
     

    8thnote

    Senior Member
    English-Southern US
    What does "dickish" and "dick" mean? It doesn't seem to mean "penis"!

    <Moderator note: quotation shortened to 4 sentences, the maximum length permitted. Nat>
    It is a rather vague term of abuse - maybe idiot and idiotic, but possibly also suggesting selfishness.
    Used like that it means stupid or foolish. Not very strong or offensive.
    In AmE, the word "dick" is a slightly crude and vulgar way of calling someone a jerk. A good synonym would be "asshole". It you called a stranger a dick, they would very likely be highly offended here in the US.

    As far as "dickish", I don't believe I've ever heard the word modified in that way. It sounds like an invented word, on the part of the author, to describe jerk-like behavior.

    It sound like there's a cultural difference, between the US and Britain, as far as the offensiveness and vulgarity of the word. Interesting.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In AmE, the word "dick" is a slightly crude and vulgar way of calling someone a jerk. A good synonym would be "asshole". It you called a stranger a dick, they would very likely be highly offended here in the US.
    That is interesting, because the author is American as far as I can tell. On Amazon, or on the UK version of it, they've rather coyly asterisked it as "d*ck" in the product information section.

    I wonder if, because "dickish" and "dickishness" aren't proper words, that's perhaps regarded as having the effect of lessening the potential offensiveness of "dick". :confused:
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't use it myself, because I prefer not to use any genital vocabulary to insult people. I do hear 'dick' being used quite casually by respectable younger people, always about men. I get the impression it's in the same innocuous category as 'wally' or 'twit' or - and here's another one - 'dork'.

    I was very surprised to read that 'dork' is also American slang for penis.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I wonder if, because "dickish" and "dickishness" aren't proper words, that's perhaps regarded as having the effect of lessening the potential offensiveness of "dick".
    In what sense are they not 'proper words'? Are you saying that they fail to meet the usual criteria for words, or for propriety?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In what sense are they not 'proper words'? Are you saying that they fail to meet the usual criteria for words, or for propriety?
    I mean that, endorsing 8thnote's suggestion in post #7, they appear to have been invented by the book's author. I can't find either of them in Oxford Dictionaries, and the only reference to "dickish" in our own site's dictionary is this particular thread.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I hear "dickish" quite a bit, which my be more of a reflection on me than on the language, but it's true. :)

    The only time I've ever heard "dork" in that sense is in the 1984 film Sixteen Candles, where a character named Long Duk Dong (!) is described as being "named after a duck's dork."
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    < --->

    These words are immediately understandable to you and to any native speaker, and have not been invented by the book's author.

    Dickish and dickishness each appear in both the BE and AE corpuses, eg.

    A wild point in some ancient match. Drunk evenings lost to a glittering world. How dim and dickish world-class athletes could be.
    Serve-and-Volley, Near Vichy, Greg Jackson.
    That a boy like Big D - who'd dump her as soon as the next best thing came along - would go for a girl like that over you? I'm sorry, I know you like him, but I'm glad his dickishness is out for everyone to see. No Good Deed Unpunished. Dinika M.Amaral

    I'm not saying that their use is in any way elegant or to be recommended to non-native speakers. < ---- >

    < Edited to remove topic drift. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    < ---- >

    I'm well aware that various people add the suffix -ish(ness) to all sorts of words: the two in question are readily understandable and I never said they weren't. What I did originally say (post #8) was that in using those altered forms of the word "dick" (which is classed by Oxford Dictionaries as vulgar slang) I wondered if the book's author was attempting to lessen the likelihood of causing offence.


    < Response to comments edited out or earlier post removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    'Dick' is a medium-to-strong level insult where I'm from (Ireland), roughly as strong as 'prick' or 'cunt' and has definite connotations of malicious behaviour.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    [...]

    I'm well aware that various people add the suffix -ish(ness) to all sorts of words: the two in question are readily understandable and I never said they weren't. What I did originally say (post #8) was that in using those altered forms of the word "dick" (which is classed by Oxford Dictionaries as vulgar slang) I wondered if the book's author was attempting to lessen the likelihood of causing offence.
    But you did imply that they were not 'proper words'
    because "dickish" and "dickishness" aren't proper words
    and that
    they appear to have been invented by the book's author.
    < ---- >

    However we all understand the meaning of dick, dickish, and dickishness, even if our spellchecks underline them, and we might hesitate to use them, at least to our elderly maiden aunts.

    The OP asked if dick means penis. The answer is, yes, it is a slang term for penis, but, like many four-letter words for penis, and other intimate body parts, some people indelicately like to use it to augment the expressive range of their conversation when ungenerously criticising certain characteristics they think they perceive in other people.

    < Side comments removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    Ddeckys

    Member
    English - United States
    But you did imply that they were not 'proper words'

    and that

    I don't think you should be allowed to say things like this without being challenged, and you mustn't interpret a challenge as involving sarcasm of any kind. I meant every word.

    I hold both your statements to be false.

    The second is demonstrably false as has been demonstrated.

    The second is a more interesting idea, coupled with its suggestion that these are not 'proper words' because you can't find them in a dictionary. The word 'fuck' only appeared in Merriam-Webster in 2012. Was it not a proper word in mainstream America until then?

    Did Neolithic man, not having a dictionary, not communicate in 'proper words'.
    < --- > I would agree with DonnyB in that dick, dickish, and dickishness aren't proper words. Yes, any native english speaker knows what they mean, however I would never use them in formal writing or say them in any formal setting. As has been stated, they also are not in the dictionary and are slang. I personally don't consider slang to be the proper way to speak.

    < Side comment removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    But you did imply that they were not 'proper words'

    < ---- >
    < --- >

    Before we drift any further off the topic than we already have, I would hope that most of us could perhaps agree that as "dickish" and "dickishness" are obviously derived from "dick" it would be unwise, that particular book notwithstanding, to use either of them in a situation where it was liable to cause offence. :)


    < Side comments removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    "dick" (which is classed by Oxford Dictionaries as vulgar slang)
    As we've seen time and time again in this forum, the impropriety of slang is a highly subjective business. Unlike Oxford Dictionaries, I'd class dick as only 'mildly vulgar': in the original quote it really means nothing more than 'idiot' [cf. post #2], and I (for one) don't find it in said context any more improper or objectionable than idiot. Unlike some folk [cf. post #9], I've always found myself curiously adept at distinguishing ~ and divorcing ~ the literal meaning of a genitacular term of abuse and its metaphorical one: a man getting his dick trapped in his flies is completely different from a dick who hammers his own thumb instead of the nail he's aiming for:)
     
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    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    < --- >

    Before we drift any further off the topic than we already have, I would hope that most of us could perhaps agree that as "dickish" and "dickishness" are obviously derived from "dick" it would be unwise, that particular book notwithstanding, to use either of them in a situation where it was liable to cause offence. :)
    Well, I can't say I understand why you'd use then in a situation where you didn't want to cause offence!


    < Edited to update quotation. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    < Response to deleted post removed. Cagey, moderator. >

    Generally (in Britain) I think of it on a scale of offensiveness as:

    Dick / dickhead = idiot (not really offensive to most people)
    Prick = pretty offensive, and if not used with someone you get on well with in good humour then is liable to cause major offense.
    Cunt = extremely offensive to everyone. I've never met an ordinary (as opposed to a famous) BE speaker who is comfortable using that word.

    Others may have a different view, but using "prick" or "cunt" in the workplace could easily cost you your job. Even misjudging a situation and calling the wrong person "a dick/dickhead" could result in disciplinary action.

    < See previous threads for further discussion of prick and cunt.
    They are off-topic in this thread.

    Cagey, moderator >
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ewie wrote referring to me

    Unlike some folk [cf. post #9], I've always found myself curiously adept at distinguishing ~ and divorcing ~ the literal meaning of a genitacular term of abuse and its
    I said I prefer not to use them.That might be more because other people (my 'public') are inept in this respect, than because I am somehow such a dimwit compared with your talented self, that I'm incapable of distinguishing between uses.


    Happy New Year to you.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Happy New Year to you too, Herm:) I certainly didn't intend to imply that you were a dimwit.
     
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    dcx97

    Banned
    Hindi - India
    In AmE, the word "dick" is a slightly crude and vulgar way of calling someone a jerk. A good synonym would be "asshole". It you called a stranger a dick, they would very likely be highly offended here in the US.

    As far as "dickish", I don't believe I've ever heard the word modified in that way. It sounds like an invented word, on the part of the author, to describe jerk-like behavior.

    It sound like there's a cultural difference, between the US and Britain, as far as the offensiveness and vulgarity of the word. Interesting.
    My friends confirm that "dick" is far more offensive in America than in the UK and, hence, "dickish" is far more offensive stateside than in Britain.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    This usage has only recently made it into the OED
    Draft additions January 2018
    slang (orig. U.S.). A stupid, annoying, or objectionable person, esp. a boy or man whose behaviour is considered knowingly obnoxious, provocative, or disruptive. Cf. dick-head n. (b) at Compounds, prick n. 12c.
    First citation 1966.
     
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