- A mischievous trick or prank.
“A dido or a prank is to be expected on the last day of school, but nothing gets out of hand.”
“My grandpa always tries to play a dido on my grandma when she comes home from the store, but he never fools her.”
“The most notorious dido in town history was when a flock of sheep was released on the high school field — no one ever claimed them.”
American English, early 19th century
Why this word?
There’s a story in Greek mythology in which Dido bargains with the Berber king Iarbas for a small piece of land — just enough that it can be encircled by an oxhide. He agrees, and Dido proceeds to cut an oxhide into small strips and produce enough material to make it around a nearby hill. According to myth, that settlement became Carthage, and Dido was the first queen. The history of Dido and Carthage is much more involved, but the idiom “to cut a dido,” meaning “to play a prank,” traces directly back to the queen and her oxhide.
More brands you’ll love
Elevate Your Everyday