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verb (used without object)
  1. to deal, swap, or trade with petty bargaining; bargain; haggle.
  2. to barter.
  3. to try to arrange matters by mutual bargaining: They dickered for hours over some of the finer points of the contract.
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  1. a petty bargain.
  2. a barter or swap.
  3. an item or goods bartered or swapped.
  4. a deal, especially a political deal.
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Origin of dicker1

First recorded in 1795–1805; perhaps v. use of dicker2


  1. the number or quantity ten, especially a lot of ten hides or skins.
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Origin of dicker2

1225–75; Middle English diker < Old French dacre, Medieval Latin dikeria; compare Latin decuria decury
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for dicker


  1. to trade (goods) by bargaining; barter
  2. (intr) to negotiate a political deal
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    1. a petty bargain or barter
    2. the item or items bargained or bartered
  1. a political deal or bargain
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Word Origin

C12: ultimately from Latin decuria decury; related to Middle Low German dēker lot of ten hides
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 dicker


"haggle, bargain in a petty way," 1802, American English, perhaps from dicker (n.) "a unit or package of tens," especially hides (attested from late 13c.), perhaps from Latin decuria "parcel of ten" (supposedly a unit of barter on the Roman frontier; cf. German Decher "set of ten things"), from decem "ten" (see ten) on model of centuria from centum.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper