General English

Information & Library Science

  • noun a punctuation mark (-) that is a short horizontal line used to mark off a section of a sentence


  • noun movement at high speed
  • noun a longer signal in Morse code (the shorter signal is the dot)
  • verb to move at high speed


  • noun money, a bribe or tip. The term is from West Africa, where it derives from dashee, a local African dialect term. It may be the origin of the more common dosh.
  • verb to throw away. A usage recorded among young Londoners in 2004.


  • noun a small quantity of something added to something else, so as to improve its flavour

Health Economics

  • acronym fordisabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand
    (written as DASH)

Origin & History of “dash”

Dash is probably of Scandinavian origin – Danish daske ‘beat’ has been compared – but whether it was a borrowing or a home-grown word, it was no doubt formed in imitation of rapid impulsive violent movement. Its original sense in English was ‘hit, smash’ (now rather eclipsed, put preserved in such phrases as ‘dash someone’s hopes’). ‘Move quickly and violently’ followed in the 14th century, and the noun sense ‘stroke of a pen’ in the 16th century (this probably gave rise to the use of the word as a euphemism for damned, from the replacement of that word in print with a dash).