noun (1)
dick·​er | \ ˈdi-kər How to pronounce dicker (audio) \

Definition of dicker

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the number or quantity of 10 especially of hides or skins


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

Definition of dicker (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: bargain dickered over the price


noun (2)

Definition of dicker (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : barter
2 : an act or session of bargaining

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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

First Known Use of dicker

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

History and Etymology for dicker

Noun (1)

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


origin unknown

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

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Cite this Entry

“Dicker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dicker. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for dicker



English Language Learners Definition of dicker

: to talk or argue with someone about the conditions of a purchase, agreement, or contract


intransitive verb
dick·​er | \ ˈdi-kər \
dickered; dickering

Legal Definition of dicker

: to seek to arrive at a workable and agreeable arrangement by negotiating and haggling

More from Merriam-Webster on dicker

Nglish: Translation of dicker for Spanish Speakers


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