derring-do

\ \ [16] Derring-do arose from a misunderstanding of the Middle English phrase dorring do, which literally meant ‘daring to do’ (dorren was the Middle English form of dare). In some 16th-century editions of medieval authors this was misprinted as derring do. The poet Edmund Spenser came across it and used it several times in his often deliberately archaic verse – but as a noun, meaning ‘boldness’, rather than as the verbal phrase it actually was: ‘a man of mickle name, renowned much in arms and derring do’, Faerie Queene 1596. Spenser’s usage was picked up and popularized by Sir Walter Scott in the early 19th century.
\ \ Cf.DARE

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Derring — Der ring, a. Daring or warlike. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Drad for his derring doe and bloody deed. Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • derring-do — n. brave and heroic deeds. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • derring-do — If a person shows derring do, they show great courage …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • derring-do — index audacity Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • derring-do — originally (late 14c.) dorrying don, lit. daring to do, from durring daring, prp. of M.E. durren to dare (see DARE (Cf. dare)) + don, inf. of to do. Misspelled derrynge do 1500s and mistaken for a noun by Spenser, who took it to mean manhood and… …   Etymology dictionary

  • derring-do — ► NOUN dated or humorous ▪ action displaying heroic courage. ORIGIN from a 16th century misprint and misinterpretation of the Middle English phrase dorryng do «daring to do» …   English terms dictionary

  • derring-do — [der′iŋ do͞o′] n. [ME derrynge do, durring don, lit., daring to do; misunderstood as abstract n. by Spenser and thence popularized by Scott ( Ivanhoe)] daring action; reckless courage …   English World dictionary

  • derring-do — [16] Derring do arose from a misunderstanding of the Middle English phrase dorring do, which literally meant ‘daring to do’ (dorren was the Middle English form of dare). In some 16th century editions of medieval authors this was misprinted as… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • derring do — der|ring do «DEHR ihng DOO», noun, or derring do, daring deeds; heroic daring: »But where in the older picaresque tradition the adventures are feats of physical derring do, here they are adventures of the spirit (Wall Street Journal). ╂[Middle… …   Useful english dictionary

  • derring-do — noun Etymology: Middle English dorring don daring to do, from dorring (gerund of dorren to dare) + don to do Date: 1579 daring action ; daring < deeds of derring do > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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