It is snowing like the dickens here in bucolic Pepinoville. Chicago beat the dickens out of New Orleans tonight (New Orleans previously had the dickens beat out of them by Hurricane Katrina).
The dickens Granny used when she couldn’t easily come up with a standard unit, but she was emphatic that it would be a big unit, indeed. Examples:
“I beat the dickens out of that rug, and it’s still full of dust.”
“It’s (raining/snowing/sleeting/other act of God) like the dickens.”
Feel free to use this Grannyism, or any other, as Granny neglected to copyright her modismos. They are public domain. Use ’em like the dickens.
En mi humilde memoria,