devil-may-care

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From attributive use of a shortened idiom of the original oath or expression: The devil may care, but I do not.

Adjective[edit]

devil-may-care (comparative more devil-may-care, superlative most devil-may-care)

  1. Carefree, reckless, irresponsible.
    • 1837, "Venator", The Warwickshire Hunt from 1795 to 1836, Prefatory Remarks:
      This is the sort of witchery, not easily defined—but, by its votaries, pretty sensibly felt, in hunting the fox. The light-hearted, high-spirited stripling, when cigaring it careless to cover, with a kind of a knowing demi-devil-may-care twist of his beaver, receives in his transit a benison from every real friend of the chase he may chance to pass; and the airy, eager zeal of the youthful aspirant to rolls, tumbles, and the brush, will flush his memory with the frolic gayety of other days, and animate his mind with reflections most welcome to his heart.
    • 1837, Charles Dickens, chapter 49, in The Pickwick Papers:
      Not that this would have worried him much, anyway—he was a mighty free and easy, roving, devil-may-care sort of person.
    • 1910, Jeffery Farnol, chapter 3, in The Broad Highway:
      Now, upon his whole person, from the crown of his unkempt head down to his broken, dusty boots, there yet clung that air of jaunty, devil-may-care rakishness.
    • 1988, Michael Hopkinson, Green Against Green: The Irish Civil War:
      Collins' death can be put down to his devil-may-care attitude—his decision to journey through hostile territory in a large convoy, the inadequate choice of the members of the convoy, and the tactics he adopted in the ambush. For all the debate about ballistics and entry and exit wounds, and the use of powerful historical imaginations, it matters more that Collins was killed than how he was killed. Concentration on the events at Béal na mBláth has, moreover, often meant a failure to place them in the overall context of the war.
    • 2011 May 21, Altin Raxhimi, "The Trouble with Democracy: Albania's Worrisome Vote," Time:
      Tiny Albania emerged from communist dictatorship in 1990 only to tumble into a rough world of gangsters, fraudulent financial machinations and incompetent governance, exacerbated by lawless capitalism and devil-may-care politics.

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