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Charles Dickens

Why IS Dickens used in What the Dickens?

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May 02, 2009 2:01AM

Most people were still very credulous in their religion at that time and found many substitutes for the word "devil." The superstition went if you name the devil, he will appear, so dickens (not connected in any way with Charles Dickens or any of his family) was used as one of those substitute words. Rather than saying "What the devil" they would instead say "What the dickens."