Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dash v.1

[from the dash that replaces the ‘am’ in dash, i.e. d—n, and subseq. in other ‘obscenities’; note Captain Alexander Smith, History of the Lives of the Most Noted Highwaymen (5th edn, 1719): ‘If we have here and there brought in some of these wicked offenders venting a profane oath or curse, which is dashed, it is to paint them in their proper colours’]

1. a general euph. for damn v., used in excls. and oaths.

[UK]M. Robinson Walsingham IV 277: Dash me, my hearty, but here I am again.
[US]S. Woodworth Forest Rose I i: bel.: (Aside.) I must speak to her, and dash the native.
[US]W.A. Caruthers Kentuckian in N.Y. I 67: Dash me if it wasn’t tail all the way to the collar.
[UK]C. Kingsley Alton Locke (1850) 44: Gunpowder is your true leveller – dash physical strength.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 70: Dash my sabretache if there’s tuppence to choose atween ’em!
[UK]Broad Arrow Jack 22: Oh, blow your weakness! dash your helplessness, and jigger your happetite!
[US]B. Harte Gabriel Conroy III 175: Dash it all! what in dash are you dashingly doing here, dash you?
[UK]Daily Gaz. for Middlesborough 25 June 3/3: ‘Why, dash my eyes, Billy,’ he says swearing.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 5/4: Will take 20 days to read the poem you dashed off in 20 minutes. Dash your dashed poetry.
[UK]R. Barnett Police Sergeant C 21 153: Dash me! of course.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Captain of the Push’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 188: And the language that he mounted I should scarcely like to tell, / (Stars! and notes of exclamation!! blank and dash will do as well).
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Everything in the Garden’s Lovely [lyrics] ‘On my life / Dash it all its my own wife’.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 119: ‘Pull up, dash you!’ he shouted as the horseman swept by.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘A Few Remarks on Bill & Jim’ in Roderick (1972) 717: Dash the War for the present!
[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 8 Oct. 7/3: Dash! I’ve forgotten to bring my fountain pen.
[US]Mad mag. July 15: Dash-blast the gosh darned blankety heck!

2. as past participle of sense 1; usu. as I’m dashed if... or I’ll be dashed...

[UK]Blackwood’s Edinburgh Mag. May 540/1: I’ll be dashed if I gan another step for less ’an oaf .
[UK]Thackeray Ravenswing (1887) 73: I’m dashed if she ain’t taken the little French clock, too.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 18: Dashed if he wouldn’t give a fifty-pun for a kiss!
[UK]York Herald 28 Apr. 3/5: Dashed if i can enjoy my pipe.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 41: ‘Religion be dashed,’ says Pa.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 July 10/1: ‘Look here,’ said the new editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph to one of his staff, ‘since the cable parted I’m dashed if I know what to fill up with.’.
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 29: Well, I’m dashed!
[UK]Sporting Times 4 Feb. 1/4: Dashed if you didn’t offer me the same ruddy sum for thirty days for a score in last November?
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Extricating Young Gussie’ in Man with Two Left Feet 25: I’m dashed if I didn’t suddenly catch sight of the old lad.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 5: Well, I’m dashed. I’m really dashed. I positively am dashed, Jeeves.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 9: I was dashed if I was going to have him muscling in.
[UK]J. Osborne World of Paul Slickey Act II: Well, I’m dashed if I really know what this is all about.
[UK]K. Amis letter Sept. in Leader (2000) 686: I was dashed to find no reference to me in it.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 63: I was dashed if I was going to be intimidated by Jeeves.
[UK]Indep. Information 4–10 Sept. 24: Dad’s taking a bath with Sis, and dashed if Brother knows what to do about it.

In exclamations

dash it (all)!

a general euph. excl.

[UK]‘T.B. Junr.’ Pettyfogger Dramatized I ii: Dash it, Master!
[UK]T. Morton Speed the Plough II ii: But dash it, Lady Nelly, what do make thee paint thy vace all over wi’ rud ochre zoo?
[UK]R.B. Peake Haunted Inn II iii: There’s the pig-jobbers again, and, dash it, a fellow staring at Jenny like a cod-fish.
[UK]Comic Almanack Feb. 213: But, dash it, it’s my own house.
[UK]Carlisle Patriot 27 Apr. 4/5: ‘Dash my buttons!’ I sez to myself.
[US]Lewisburg Chron. (PA) 30 Apr. 1/4: My chop. Hello! What’s this? Bacon again? Oh, pooh! zounds — compound it — dash it —hang it — I can’t stand this!
[UK]Dickens Bleak House (1991) 405: Now — I — dash it! — The fact is, that I put down a head or two here of the order of the points I thought of touching upon.
[UK]Broad Arrow Jack 9: ‘Oh! dash it — come, you know,’ expostulated Wobbles.
[UK]J. Greenwood In Strange Company 206: ‘Dash it all!’ said the Deputy.
Arthur Lloyd ‘My Wife’s Relations’ in Comic Songs 12: I said – Dash it!
[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 165: ‘Dash it all,’ murmured the greengrocer.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 376: Dash it, boy, what are y waitin’ for?
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Meeting Old Mates’ in Roderick (1972) 166: Oh, dash it; you ain’t going yet.
[UK]R. Whiteing No. 5 John Street 148: Dash it all, you’re as bad as that chap from New York who came over ‘just to buy a toothpick’.
[UK]Boys Of The Empire 11 Dec. 151: Dash it, how it tingles!
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 53: Presently, lolling at ease, he said, ‘Dash it all! I tell you it bulged!’.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 12 Nov. 43/2: ‘Oh, dash it all!’ broke in Warren.
[UK]Marvel 15 Oct. 1: Dash it all!
[US]Perry Co. Times (New Blomfield, PA) 10 Oct. 3/2: ‘Well — oh, dash it [...] No, dash it, I wasn’t going to say a jolly word’.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Mufti 50: Dash it, Margaret, there was a distinct flavour of the pre-war about you last night.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 26: Dash it, a man must call his soul his own.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Final Count 842: Dash it all — that’s a nuisance.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 27: ‘Dash it all!’ said Wimsey.
[UK]Rover 13 Jan. 40: Dash it, I think it’s scandalous.
[UK]C. Day Lewis Otterbury Incident 65: Dash it all, we got that bob for you.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 94: It’s no good saying, ‘But, dash it!’.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Jennings Goes To School 227: Dash it, it’s deceitful.
[Aus]T. Ronan Vision Splendid 315: Dash it all, I’ve done as much cattle work and have a better knowledge.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 25: ‘Dash it,’ I said with some warmth.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘Gods Live in the Woods’ in Coll. Stories (1965) 229: But dash it all uncle Henry, remember I was only a kid then.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 4: And here, dash it, I must once more ask the old sweats to let their attention wander while I put the new arrivals abreast.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 24 July 11: Dash it! The blighter isn’t a real hack.
[UK]Guardian G2 18 May 3: And – dash it all – a woman to boot.
dash my buttons! (also dash my old crabshells, ...sconce! ...skin! ...timbers!, durn my buttons!)

a mild oath.

[UK]M. Robinson Walsingham IV 277: They have taken possession of Honaover-square; and, dash my sconce, if all is not gone to the hammer.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Nov. XIX 91/1: ‘Dash my buttons, as you’re a good fellow, you shall have my old shoes!’.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 119: ‘Dash my buttons!’ cried a young stout fellow.
[UK] ‘The Trap Door’ Icky-Wickey Songster 46: ‘Dash my buttons,’ he cried.
[UK](con. 1703) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1840) 55: You may try, but dash my timbers if you’ll ever cross the Thames to-night!
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 152: Dash my buttons, findin’ a fox and killin’ on ’im are werry different things.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 270: Dash my buttons, Monsieur, but I think I see you sailing away.
[UK]Inverness Courier 16 Feb. 6/3: ‘Dash my skin if I can stand beggary’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Facey Romford’s Hounds 319: Dash my buttons, here they come!
Dly Ohio Statesman 13 June 1/3: If thou wilt only put me on the other side of this stream, dash my buttons if I’ll bother again.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 140: Dash an ejaculation, as ‘DASH my wig!’ ‘DASH my buttons!’ A relic of the attempts made, when cursing was fashionable, to be in the mode without used ‘bad words’.
Sporting Times (London) 15 Feb. 3/2: ‘It’s your treat this time, dash my old crabshells if it ain’t’.
[UK]R.L. Stevenson Treasure Island 66: But dash my buttons! that was a good ’un.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 24 May 25/3: Dash my buttons (if you will kindly excuse the violence of my language).
[US]Chariton Courier (Keytesville, MO) 10 Apr. 6/6: Durn my buttons but they did.
[US]Dly Public Ledger (Maysville, KY) 8 Apr. 1/2: Rats! Geemonetty! Dash my buttons!
Indiana Progress (PA) 16 Jan. 3/1: ‘Dash my skin, if I ever he’rd of a tide risin’ a thousan’ feet’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Mar. 31/1: ‘Dash my buttons! [...] if I don’t believe this is the old girl herself coming off!’.
[UK]Sporting Times 4 Mar. 7/5: Dash my rags! I must ha’ been blind yesterday! I’ve paid my blooming tailor!
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 13 Mar. 4/3: ‘Well! Well!’ ‘Did you ever!’ ‘Dash my buttons!’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Sept. 51/2: ‘Dash my skin, where have my glasses gone?’.
Roy Crane Wash Tubbs [comic strip] I can’t understand it, dash my buttons, I can’t.
dash my rags!

a mild oath.

[UK]Bell’s Life in London 5 May 4/1: But, dash my rags, if here arn’t some of the Royal Family!
[UK]Nottingham Guardian 23 Mar. 8/1: Dash my rags, Jimmie, it bangs me a’ togidder.
[UK]Cheshire Obs. 1 July 3/1: But dash my rags if I can [etc].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 Nov. Red Page/1: ‘So help me cat! do you think I don’t know that? I saw you runnin’, and I thought how splendid I could cut you off; and then I thought, ’Oh, dash me rags! I’ll let them get home and change their togs.’’.
[UK]Western Dly Press 1 July 11/1: ‘Well, dash my rags,’ said Jim.
dash my wig(s)! (also dash my jasy! dish my wig!)

a mild oath.

[UK]M. Robinson Walsingham IV 278: Dish my wig, but there are at least a dozen putting in their claims for a share of the booty. [Ibid.] 280: My best polygraph is dead! dead as a nail, dash my jasy!
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie III vi: I’ve had a precious swig—If I’m not a dead woman—dash my wig.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 46: BILL GIBBONS ne’er / In all his days was known to swear, / Except light oaths, to grace his speeches, / Like ‘dash my wig!’.
[UK]Stamford Mercury 7 July 4/7: Jack held out his hand with all the money he had,and said, ‘dash my wig, Master Parson, take this, and marry us’.
[UK]Lytton Pelham I 283: Sir Willoughby [...] made to this extraordinary remonstrance no other reply than a long whiff, and a ‘Well, Russelton, dash my wig [...] but you’re a queer fellow.’.
[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 20 Jan. 92: Well I niver – Walker! – a tool – dash my vig! – what a fool!
[UK]Comic Almanack Jan. 208: But, dash my wigs – this pretty set [...] Won’t let an honest feller whet / His lawful wengeance on his own.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 9 Oct. 3/2: Witness said ‘no’ whereupon the old genelteman ‘dashed his wig and buttons’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1924) 52: Dash my vig! wot men I’ve seen in the ’unting-field!
[UK]Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1994) 652: If you hadn’t come round to me tonight, dash my wig if I wouldn’t have come round to you tomorrow.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 140: Dash an ejaculation, as ‘DASH my wig!’.
[US]Bismarck Trib. (ND) 31 May 2/3: Why, you don’t mean to say, — Well, I never; — dash my wig, — well [etc.].
[UK]W.C. Russell Jack’s Courtship I 296: If I knew of another word to express the same thing, dash my wig if I wouldn’t bestow it on you.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Vagaries of the Vernacular’ The Sporting Times 15 Mar. 1/3: It is only something big, not a paltry ‘dash my wig!’ / That secures the lusty shouts of legislators.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 104/2: Dash my wig (Peoples’). Another version of ‘darn’ in the time of wigs. Still heard, though wigs are seldom referred to, if worn.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘Draining of the Save-Alls’ Seaways 115: Mr Aughtlone [...] Never swore, only ‘Desh my wigs an’ trouser buttons!’.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 308: Dash my wig! What’s the country coming to?