See more synonyms for dash on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to strike or smash violently, especially so as to break to pieces: He dashed the plate into smithereens against the wall.
  2. to throw or thrust violently or suddenly: to dash one stone against another.
  3. to splash, often violently; bespatter (with water, mud, etc.): He recovered consciousness when they dashed water in his face.
  4. to apply roughly, as by splashing: to dash paint here and there on the wall.
  5. to mix or adulterate by adding another substance: to dash wine with water.
  6. to ruin or frustrate (hopes, plans, etc.): The rain dashed our hopes for a picnic.
  7. to depress; dispirit: The failure dashed his spirits.
  8. to confound or abash: His rejection dashed and humiliated him.
verb (used without object)
  1. to strike with violence: The waves dashed against the cliff.
  2. to move with violence; rush: The horses dashed out of the burning stable.
  1. a small quantity of anything thrown into or mixed with something else: a dash of salt.
  2. a hasty or sudden movement; a rush or sudden onset: They all made a dash for the door.
  3. the mark or sign (—) used to note an abrupt break or pause in a sentence or hesitation in an utterance, to begin and end a parenthetic word, phrase, or clause, to indicate the omission of letters or words, to divide a line, to substitute for certain uses of the colon, and to separate any of various elements of a sentence or series of sentences, as a question from its answer.
  4. the throwing or splashing of liquid against something: the dash of the waves against the dock.
  5. the sound of such splashing: The dash of the waves on the beach could be heard from afar.
  6. spirited action; élan; vigor in action or style: The dancer performed with spirit and dash.
  7. Track. a short race: a 100-yard dash.
  8. dashboard(def 1).
  9. Telegraphy. a signal of longer duration than a dot, used in groups of dots, dashes, and spaces to represent letters, as in Morse code.
  10. a hasty stroke, especially of a pen.
  11. Archaic. a violent and rapid blow or stroke.
Verb Phrases
  1. dash off,
    1. to hurry away; leave: I must dash off now.
    2. Also dash down.to write, make, accomplish, etc., hastily: We dashed off a letter to announce the news. He dashed down a memo.
  1. 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

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
10. dart, bolt. See rush1. 11. pinch, bit; touch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for dash off


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to hurl; crashhe dashed the cup to the floor; the waves dashed against the rocks
  2. to mixwhite paint dashed with blue
  3. (intr) to move hastily or recklessly; rushhe dashed to her rescue
  4. (usually foll by off or down) to write (down) or finish (off) hastily
  5. to destroy; frustratehis hopes were dashed
  6. to daunt (someone); cast down; discouragehe was dashed by her refusal
  1. a sudden quick movement; dart
  2. a small admixturecoffee with a dash of cream
  3. a violent stroke or blow
  4. the sound of splashing or smashingthe dash of the waves
  5. panache; stylehe rides with dash
  6. cut a dash See cut (def. 33)
  7. 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
  8. the symbol (–) used, in combination with the symbol dot (·), in the written representation of Morse and other telegraphic codesCompare dah
  9. athletics another word (esp US and Canadian) for sprint
  10. informal short for dashboard

Word Origin for dash

Middle English dasche, dasse


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


  1. a gift, commission, tip, or bribe
  1. 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 off



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dash off 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.

Idioms and Phrases with dash off

dash off


Write or sketch hastily, as in I'm just going to dash off a letter. [Early 1700s]


Hurry away, depart hastily, as in He dashed off as though he was being chased. This usage employs the verb dash in the sense of “impetuously run” or “rush,” a usage dating from about 1300.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.