Where does the phrase "Scare the Dickens out of..." originate from? And does it refer to Charles Dickens?
This is one of several phrases using dickens as a euphemism for devil such as what the dickens, where the dickens, the dickens you are, etc. Since its use can be traced back to Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, it has nothing to do with Charles Dickens. Though, according to Michael Quinion at WWW:
However, when looking for this clip from the play:
I found this footnote with an alternate theory:
According to Etymonline, it is an
exclamation, 1590s, apparently a substitute for devil; probably altered from Dickon, nickname for Richard and source of the surnames Dickens and Dickenson, but exact derivation and meaning are unknown.