No dice idiom meaning
No dice is another interesting English idiom with a curious history. It is a colourful way to say no to something or someone and can be used in many different situations. Although native speakers in The UK and other countries are familiar with the idiom, it is mostly used in North America from where it originated.
The no dice idiom meanings are –
A refusal to do or accept something.
Something is impossible or can’t be done.
To have no chance.
To have no luck.
Something is ineffective or useless.
Example sentences using the “no dice” idiom
She wanted to go to the movies with her friends, but her parents said no dice.
I went to the bank and applied for a loan, but it was no dice they wouldn’t give me one.
He asked his friend to help him move house, but it was no dice, he was too busy to help.
They tried to get plane tickets to Italy but no dice, all the flights were booked.
He tried to mow the grass this morning but no dice, the lawnmower is broken.
Expressions similar to the no dice idiom meaning –
The idiom no dice is often replaced with the expressions “no soap” or “no go”. In this case, they mean exactly the same thing. Other expressions with a similar meaning include –
It won’t wash – this is used to say that something is either unacceptable, cannot be believed, or is unconvincing.
The expression nothing doing can be used to say no or refuse a request.
A person who says that they wouldn’t dream of doing something is saying there is no way they will do it, will never do it, and completely refuse.
Origin of the no dice idiom
This North American idiom seems to have come from the activity of gambling. It appeared first in print (as an idiom) in 1921 in a Texan newspaper. Although nobody has been able to pinpoint its exact origin, there are three main schools of thought as to how it came to be an idiom in the English language.
The first theory is just that you often needed dice to gamble, and without any dice, you just couldn’t play. The no dice idiom meaning comes from this simple situation in which something could not be done.
The second theory is that it came from the game of craps and was a term used by casino dealers. To play craps you must throw dice and they must be thrown in a particular way or the throw is deemed invalid. For example, in casinos, dice have to be thrown towards a wall on a table and are usually required to hit it.
Early in the twentieth century, the casino dealers would yell “no dice” if somebody made an incorrect throw. No dice was also said when players made an unlucky throw. In this theory, the term no dice came about through craps and was associated with something unacceptable or bad luck.
The third idea on the source of the idiom also comes from gambling with dice and craps. It involves the prohibition of gambling in most of the United States of America in the early 1900s. At this time police would arrest and charge gamblers for playing.
Some convictions required evidence to prove that the gambling occurred. If there were no dice, then the courts would not always proceed with the cases and defendants would sometimes be acquitted. Gamblers of course went to great pains to conceal their dice and there are even reports of dice being swallowed. No dice = no charges.
In this case, the no dice idiom meaning is also something that cannot be done.