divil a bit

papeya

Senior Member
italian
"Would you be imitating anyone's accent there?" she shouted in his ear.
"Divil a bit!"

What does it mean? Is it an idiomatic expression or a quotation from some famous texts?
Papeya
 
  • Danc

    Senior Member
    English (European)
    Yes I can confirm that!
    "Divil a bit" is an Irish expression meaning "nothing at all" (My grandmother used it a lot)

    Some say the divil is dead, some say the divil is dead
    Some say the divil is dead and buried in Killarney

    More say he rose again, more say he rose again
    More say he rose again and joined the British army

    :)

    (correction La Reine.. it's not a Dublin expression, much more Cork / Kerry)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Up in this part of The Island, Divil a bit of it means, more or less, "I am of the opinion that what you have just said is incorrect." Divil a bit would be enough.

    In other words, it is a generalised contradiction that, because it is rather archaic and somewhat stage-Irish, is meant to be interpreted as light-hearted and somewhat frivolous.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Up in this part of The Island, Divil a bit of it means, more or less, "I am of the opinion that what you have just said is incorrect." Divil a bit would be enough.

    In other words, it is a generalised contradiction that, because it is rather archaic and somewhat stage-Irish, is meant to be interpreted as light-hearted and somewhat frivolous.
    To take it a bit further. I would have imagined it to have been derived from something along the lines of "T(o t)he devil (with you if) a bit of it (is true)".

    But, hold hard there -
    I see that Eric Partridge in his Dictionary of Slang has it, and says....
    devil a bit (says Punch), the
    A firm though jocular negative: colloquial: circa 1850-1910. Without says Punch it goes back to earlyish 17th century: Pepys uses it thus on 3 April 1668.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top