Recorded as Dictus, Dickus, Dict, Dickte, and Dicty, this is regarded as a German name. In Germany as elsewhere it can be a short form of the popular personal and surname Richard, but is more likely to have two quite separate origins. The first is from the pre 7th century word "dichi" and to have been a pre medieval nickname for a large, thickset man, or perhaps given the robust Chaucerian humour of those times, the complete reverse! Secondly it could be residential and describe somebody who lived in a "dicke". This was a thicket of thorn trees sometimes on the inside of a moat, that was deliberately grown with a farm or even a whole village in the centre. The specific reason was that cattle and sheep could be brought inside the dicke at night to prevent them straying, but also and of equal importance at a time of wandering outlaws, the dicke was easily defended against undesireables. Similar "constructions" could be found throughout Europe, particularly in places where stone was in short supply, and several are known to exist in Ireland even today. Examples of early recordings taken from surviving German church registers include Stephanus Dictus, which is a Latin form of spelling often used in early recordings, at Bernkastel, Rheinland, on April 4th 1659, and Wilhelmina Dickte at Haffinger, Westfalen, on September 22nd 1838.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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