cut a dash, to make a striking impression; be ostentatious or showy.

Origin of dash

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English dasshen, perhaps < Old Norse; compare Danish daske slap, flap, Swedish daska; (noun) Middle English: blow, clash, derivative of the v.

Synonyms for dash

10. dart, bolt. See rush1. 11. pinch, bit; touch.



verb (used with object) Chiefly British.

to damn (usually used as an interjection).

Origin of dash

1790–1800; euphemism based on d—n, printed form of damn


[dash](in West Africa)


a tip, bribe, or recompense.

verb (used with object)

to give a tip or bribe to (especially a government employee).

Origin of dash

1780–1790; perhaps first recorded in Dutch as dache, dasche (1602); origin uncertain, but often alleged to be < Portuguese das (you) give (2nd singular present indicative of dar to give) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dash

Contemporary Examples of dash

Historical Examples of dash

  • "With just a dash of orange bitters in it," another might add.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Chip really felt that way about it, after the first dash of wounded pride.

  • Once having agreed to the change, she would carry it off with a dash.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Is there a back door where we can dash out and give them the slip?

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • For goodness' sake, let's dash as fast as we can, down into the garden, and do the same thing!

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for dash



verb (mainly tr)

to hurl; crashhe dashed the cup to the floor; the waves dashed against the rocks
to mixwhite paint dashed with blue
(intr) to move hastily or recklessly; rushhe dashed to her rescue
(usually foll by off or down) to write (down) or finish (off) hastily
to destroy; frustratehis hopes were dashed
to daunt (someone); cast down; discouragehe was dashed by her refusal


a sudden quick movement; dart
a small admixturecoffee with a dash of cream
a violent stroke or blow
the sound of splashing or smashingthe dash of the waves
panache; stylehe rides with dash
cut a dash See cut (def. 33)
the punctuation mark , used singly in place of a colon, esp to indicate a sudden change of subject or grammatical anacoluthon, or in pairs to enclose a parenthetical remark
the symbol (–) used, in combination with the symbol dot (·), in the written representation of Morse and other telegraphic codesCompare dah
athletics another word (esp US and Canadian) for sprint
informal short for dashboard

Word Origin for dash

Middle English dasche, dasse




informal a euphemistic word for damn (def. 1), damn (def. 2)




a gift, commission, tip, or bribe


to give (a dash) to someone

Word Origin for dash

C16: perhaps from Fanti
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

Word Origin and History for dash

c.1300, probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish daska, Danish daske "to beat, strike"), somehow imitative. The oldest sense is that in dash to pieces and dashed hopes. Intransitive meaning "move quickly" appeared c.1300, that of "to write hurriedly" is 1726. Related: Dashed; dashing.


late 14c., from dash (v.). Sporting sense is from 1881, originally "race run in one heat."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dash in Culture


A punctuation mark (—) used to indicate a sudden break in thought, to set off parenthetical material, or to take the place of such expressions as that is and namely: “He's running for reelection — if he lives until then”; “Very few people in this class — three, to be exact — have completed their projects”; “She joined the chorus for only one reason — she loves to sing.” In the last example, where the parenthetical material comes at the end of the sentence rather than in the middle, a colon could be used instead of the dash.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.