1 of 3

noun (1)

dick·​er ˈdi-kər How to pronounce dicker (audio)
: the number or quantity of 10 especially of hides or skins


2 of 3


dickered; dickering ˈdi-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce dicker (audio)

intransitive verb

: bargain
dickered over the price


3 of 3

noun (2)

: barter
: an act or session of bargaining

Did you know?

Etymologists aren't exactly sure of the origins of the verb dicker; however, there is a probability that it arose from the bartering of animal hides on the American frontier. The basis of that theory is founded on the noun dicker, which in English can refer to a quantity of ten hides. That word is derived from decuria, the Latin word for a bundle of ten hides, and ultimately from Latin decem, meaning "ten" (to learn why the month December comes from the Latin word decem, click here). In ancient Rome, a decuria became a unit of bartering. The word entered Middle English as dyker and eventually evolved to dicker. It has been posited that the verb emerged from the bargaining between traders over dickers of hides, but not all etymologists are sold on that idea.

Examples of dicker in a Sentence

Verb I tried to dicker for a discounted price. they dickered over the price of the car for a few minutes Noun (2) was hoping to make a dicker with another collector of records from the 1950s
Recent Examples on the Web
But nothing said at this point can be separated from the bluffing and haggling and dickering central to such high-dollar negotiations. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 21 Feb. 2024 Last year’s announcement was delayed nearly an hour while the Atlantic Coast Conference, bowl directors and television executives dickered — bickered? Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Dec. 2023 Conrad's lawyer dickered for weeks with the owners of Baldwin House. Bill Laytner, Detroit Free Press, 24 Apr. 2023 The celebrity may dicker over the price, but ultimately reach an agreement. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2021 Numerous lawsuits have been filed, especially against Weinstein and his company, but remain mired in legal limbo as attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants dicker over damages. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dicker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English dyker, from Latin decuria quantity of ten, from decem ten — more at ten


origin unknown

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above


1797, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dicker was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near dicker

Cite this Entry

“Dicker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dicker. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dickered; dickering
dicker noun

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
dickered; dickering
: to seek to arrive at a workable and agreeable arrangement by negotiating and haggling

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