Strictly British

dead clumsy, dead depressing, dead helpful dead sure, dead useful
Dead = really; common in certain British dialects, particularly in the Midlands (i.e. around Birmingham).

  • "Nearly failed on Stealth and Tracking, I'm dead clumsy, did you hear me break that plate when we arrived downstairs?"
    - Tonks (OP3)

  • "Why would anybody want to celebrate the day they died?" said Ron, who was halfway through his Potions homework and grumpy. "Sounds dead depressing to me..." (CS8)

  • "They're dead helpful...get me a roast ox if I said I was peckish."
    - Fred Weasley on the Hogwarts house-elves (GF21)

  • "All the kids want owls, they're dead useful, carry yer mail an' everythin'"
    - Hagrid (PS5)

dicky bird
Rhyming slang for "word". This is actually one of the simpler examples of rhyming slang, in which a rhyming word or phrase is substituted for the given word. In more involved examples, the actual rhyming syllable is dropped. (An example of that sort of thing would be "loaf" as a slang term for "head", where "loaf" is short for "loaf of bread".)

  • "Not a dicky bird"

A pet name for a farm horse, or for any horse used as a working animal to pull carts and the like (NSOED).

Unreliable, with slightly criminal or less than honest overtones. Probably derived from "dodging the law".

  • "Definitely dodgy," agreed George. "So he wouldn't even tell you who's supposed to be plotting all this stuff?"
    - speaking of Dobby (CS3)

  • "Isn't that what he was doing the night he was supposed to be tailing me? Picking up dodgy cauldrons?"
    - Harry on Mundungus (OP6)

A slang term for a place to sleep; by extension, any easy task offering a lot of opportunity for being lazy (NSOED).

  • "Today's going to be a real doss, I reckon"
    - Ron on the first day back (HBP9)

A fitted garment for a man, covering the upper body and worn over a shirt. A doublet has a very short stiffened little "skirt" that is meant to conceal the "points" at the waistline where the wearer's trousers are laced on (something like the eyes of a modern shoe, where the laces were part of the trousers). A doublet buttons up the front, but is sometimes tailored so that the buttons are not easily visible; the buttons might be made of anything from wood to jewels, depending on how much money the wearer is willing to spend. If a doublet has sleeves, they would be padded; the later in the sixteenth century the doublet, the more elaborate the padding.
[WEB LINKElizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London by Liza Picard, © 2003]

While this can be used to mean "drowsy" or lazy, it's often used to mean thick.

U.S.: draft (both in the senses of "air current" and of "a quantity of something to be drunk").

drawing room
Short for "withdrawing room", a room of a house to which ladies might withdraw, e.g., if the gentlemen at a dinner party have a males-only session of port and cigars after dinner. The use of such a room is not normally restricted to ladies, however.

A cupboard or set of shelves for dishes or kitchen utensils. [Source:]

dust bin
See bin.

Primary editor: Michele L. Worley.
Original page date 28-October-2005; Last page update 4-August-2007 MLW