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Origin of derring-do

1325–75; Middle English durring-do literally, daring to do, erroneously taken as noun phrase. See dare, do1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for derring-do

bravado, valor, audacity, courage, adventurousness

Examples from the Web for derring-do

Contemporary Examples of derring-do

Historical Examples of derring-do

  • Of deeds of derring-do for the saving of life our square-set friend was full.

  • We can watch your deeds of derring-do from here through the glasses.

  • Like Ivanhoe in the castle, he chafed at his compulsory inaction while others were doing "deeds of derring-do."

  • None of it fitted his preconceived notions of an Indian fight, with bullets flying thick and fast and deeds of derring-do.

    The Lost Wagon

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • To that complexion of mean fraud did the old smuggling traditions of courage, adventure, and derring-do come at last!

    The Smugglers

    Charles G. Harper

British Dictionary definitions for derring-do


  1. archaic, or literary a daring spirit or deed; boldness or bold action

Word Origin for derring-do

C16: from Middle English durring don daring to do, from durren to dare + don to do
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 derring-do

originally (late 14c.) dorrying don, literally "daring to do," from durring "daring," present participle of Middle English durren "to dare" (see dare (v.)) + don, infinitive of do (v.). Misspelled derrynge do 1500s and mistaken for a noun by Spenser, who took it to mean "manhood and chevalrie;" picked up from him and passed on to Romantic poets as a pseudo-archaism by Sir Walter Scott.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper