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[hwit-ing-tuh n, wit-] /ˈʰwɪt ɪŋ tən, ˈwɪt-/
Richard ("Dick") 1358?–1423, English merchant and philanthropist: Lord Mayor of London 1398, 1406–07, 1419–20. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dick whittington
Historical Examples
  • The typical London merchant is dick whittington, whose history was blazoned in the cheap books for all to read.

    London Walter Besant
  • In some mysterious but nevertheless direct fashion dick whittington was coming to Polchester.

    Jeremy Hugh Walpole
  • Big Ben chimed twelve and there was a distinct dick whittington touch about the music.

    Simon the Jester William J. Locke
  • Philip laid aside a bow and arrow upon which he had been busily working since supper and summoned dick whittington.

    Diane of the Green Van Leona Dalrymple
  • Even poor dick whittington could not wholly resist the cheering influence of that bright summer morning.

    Parkhurst Boys Talbot Baines Reed
  • He slept through his wooing and he slept through his wedding and I gave him the hay and the cart and dick whittington.

    Diane of the Green Van Leona Dalrymple
  • He was a species of dick whittington whose spirit was touched to finer issues than a mere material gain.

    Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
  • That was the sort of cat that brought the great dick whittington, of turn again memory, his fortune.

    The Book of Cats Charles H. Ross
  • Rich as he was, this merchant never forgot that he was once poor dick whittington.

  • More than five hundred years ago there was a little boy named dick whittington, and this is true.

    English Fairy Tales Flora Annie Steel
British Dictionary definitions for dick whittington


Richard, known as Dick. died 1423, English merchant, three times mayor of London. According to legend, he walked to London at the age of 13 with his cat and was prevented from leaving again only by the call of the church bells
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dick whittington

Dick Whittington

The story is an old one, told under other names throughout Europe, of a poor boy who sends a cat he had bought for a penny as his stake in a trading voyage; the captain sells it on his behalf for a fortune to a foreign king whose palace is overrun by rats. The hero devotes part of his windfall to charity, which may be why the legend attached in England since 16c. to Sir Richard Whittington (d.1423), three times Lord Mayor of London, who died childless and devoted large sums in his will to churches, almshouses, and St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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