On Saturday, April 10, 2004, at 05:21 PM, John Cowan wrote:
> I feel fairly confident that _dickens_ 'the Devil' is not derived from
> Dickens's name,

Yes, indeed. It's attested a few centuries before Charles Dickens' own
time. In Shakespeare's "merry Wives of Windsor" we have:
"I cannot tell what the dickens his name is."

I do not believe that Shakespeare foresaw the birth of Charles Dickens a
few centuries later!

> but that both are independently dervied from
> _Diccon, Dickon_, a hypocoristic form of _Richard_.  _

Yep - and "Dick" is still a common familiar form for "Richard" over here.

> Harry_, usually
> in the form _old Harry_, is also applied to the Devil.

As is Old Nick <-- Nicholas (tho some derive it from German 'Nickel' =

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