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From Middle English dydoppar, from earlier douedoppe, deuedep, dyuedap with agentive suffix -er, from Old English dūfedoppa (diving bird, pelican), from dūfan (to dive) + *doppa (diver) (whence modern English dop (diving bird)). Synchronically equivalent to dive +‎ dop +‎ -er.


didapper (plural didappers)

  1. A small diving water bird frequenting rivers and fresh waters, specifically a little grebe or dabchick.
    • 1679, Francis Beaumont, Fifty comedies and tragedies, page 483:
      The misery of man may fitly be compar'd to a Di­dapper, who when she is under water, past our sight, and indeed can seem no more to us, rises again; []
  2. (obsolete, derogatory) A scoundrel, a worthless person
    • 1589, John Lyly, Pappe with an hatchet, page 3:
      If a Martin can play at cheſtes, as well as his nephewe the ape, he ſhall knowe what it is for a ſcaddle pawne, to croſſe a Biſhop in his owne walke. Such dydoppers must be taken vp, els theile not ſtick to check the king.
    • 1592, Thomas Nashe, Strange newes, of the intercepting certaine letters, and a conuoy of verſes, as they were going priuilie to victuall the Low Countries:
      In earneſt thus; There is a Doctor and his Fart, that haue kept a foule ſtinking ſtirre in Paules Churchyard; I crie him mercie I ſlaundered him, he is ſcarſe a Doctor till he hath done his Acts: this dodipoule, this didopper, this profeſſed poetical braggart, hath raild vpon me with out wit or art, in certaine foure penniworth of Letters, and three farthing-worth of Sonnets; now do I meane to preſent him and Shakerley to the Queens foole-taker for coatch-horſes: for two that draw more equallie in one Oratoriall yoke of vaine-glorie there is not vnder heauen.
    • 1600, William Kempe, Kemps nine daies vvonder, page 6:
      In this towne two Cut-purſes were taken, that with other two of their companions followed mee from Lõdon (as many better diſpoſed perſons did): but theſe two dy-doppers gaue out when they were apprehended, that they had laid wagers and betted about my iourney; []