derring-do » daring-do

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Daring-do indeed.” (Samuel Brantley, Zero Dark Thirty (Central Point OR: Hellgate Press, 2002), p. 47)
  • “The tales that are narrated of my deeds of daring-do” (link)
  • “… the cast of the MTV television show “Jackass” attained celebrity through such feats of daring do - and daring do-do - as diving into a pile of elephant …” (link)
  • “This story was totally believable too, with no bragging or exaggerated accounts of heroics or daring-do.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Jonathan Lighter (American Dialect Society mailing list, 28 October 2005)

The Brantley cite was provided by Lighter on ADS-L, who noted that there were nearly 40,000 raw Google web hits (many of them irrelevant, but there are plenty of clear examples left). Lighter commented, “Not in OED, but probably what most people are thinking”.

“Daring-do” not only improves on the opaque “derring-do” semantically, but it’s also a reversion to the original idiom, which was built on the Middle English verb “durren” ‘dare’, from Old English “durran”, from which the verb “dare” is also derived.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/10/28 |

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