No dice

Hockey13

Senior Member
AmEnglish/German
Hey, everyone. I've used this phrase forever and lots of my friends use it all the time. I'm wondering about its origins if anyone's got that info. In fact, I've started saying "dice" to mean the exact opposite. :eek:

The phrase means: not possible
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I haven't heard the phrase in a while, but to me it used to indicate lack of agreement with a suggestion: for example:
    "Let's rip off that car."
    "No dice, man. I'm outa here."
    Fifties Brooklynese
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Found here at phrases.org.uk:

    This is a US phrase and originated there in the early 20th century. Gambling with dice was illegal in many states and so gamblers went to some pains to hide the dice when challenged by the police. Courts would sometimes throw out cases if the dice weren't offered in evidence. There are several court records where gamblers were alleged to have swallowed dice to avoid arrest. ouch! :eek:
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    Well I know what it means. I use it all the time, so I wouldn't call it "Fifties Brooklynese." Maybe it's making a comeback...

    I'm wondering about its origins.

    Edit: Wow, thanks french4beth!
     

    MissFit

    Senior Member
    1950's Brooklyn is exactly the setting that I picture when I hear this phrase. My friends and I used it in the Midwest in the 80's, but 50's Brooklyn is precisely the "attitude" we were going for.
     

    sergiofreeman

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I heard that expression when a guy tried to approach a friend of mine talking about a religious subject, then my friend just replied, I don't dice. The other guy got it right away.

    Can it means in this context . I'm not interested.

    Thanks for always be willing to help.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Of course, it's hard to know precisely what was going on in the speaker's brain when the phrase was uttered, but I think it's a bit more than "I'm not interested." More like "I don't ever discuss religion."
    (By the way, did the speaker leave out the word "play"?) It might be a reference to Einstein's famous "God doesn't play dice with the world."
     
    Last edited:

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I have never in my life heard "I don't dice," and would consider it an error. For what it's worth, under die, the OED has, "Colloq. phr. no dice: (it is or was) useless, hopeless, unsuccessful, profitless, etc.; nothing; ‘nothing doing’ (orig. U.S.)."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top