The Meaning of Dido: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of dido? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the term dido, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word dido mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, The word dido is a noun that refers to something that is frivolous or showy, or some prank, and heck, or mischievous act. This capricious act is often used in the phrase cut didoes. The plural of dido is either didos or didoes. The pronunciation of dido is dy-doh. In modern English, this word is used to refer to a prank or trick, but the word itself has quite the storied history in ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

This term is also used as a proper noun to refer to the legendary founder and Queen of the city of Carthage, or the “New City.” This city is located in the modern Tunisia in northwest Africa.

In Virgil’s epic poem Aeneid in the legend of Dido, this queen kills herself when her lover the shipwrecked Aeneas leaves her. She curses both Aeneas and his Trojans and proclaims ceaseless war between Carthage and the descendants of Troy, which is foreshadowing the Punic Wars. She then creates a ceremonial funeral pyre that she sacrifices others and commits suicide. Dido’s character is presented as the image of the unhappy or unrequited lover according to Dictionary and Britannica. Dido is also called Elissa (ə-liss-ə) in Greek legend, and is the daughter of Mutto AKA Belus, the Tyrian king, and the wife of Sychaeus. This princess of Tyre is an enterprising woman and legendary foundress who flees tyranny from Pygmalion, her autocratic brother, when she discovers he was responsible for her husband’s death.She then forms her own city with the founding of Carthage. She leaves a legacy for many women. 

In the 21st century, some parents choose to name their children the name Dido or its variants Elissa and Alyssa after this legendary ancient Greek legend and founder of Carthage. This name is of Greek origin and Roman sources, though the city of Carthage was in North Africa. This name implies a strong woman who one ought not to trifle with from this classical myth. Her legacy is especially strong in Tunisia, where the “Daughters of Dido” regard her as a national symbol and feature her on currency. This girl’s name is also featured in the stage name of the singer-songwriter Dido, born Florian Cloud.

How can the word dido be used in a sentence?

The word Dido can be used in many contexts outside of the legendary story of the Trojan hero Aeneas. Below are many examples of Dido when the word is used in English to reference a prank or trickery. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Using words in a sentence, as well as making flashcards or quizzes for yourself, is a great way to memorize their definition and add them to your vocabulary. 

The woman made a fuss at the opera after the jester poured water on her as part of a silly dido. She was sitting in the section labeled “splash zone!”

The students at Princeton University played a dido on their favorite professor at the Christmas party. He found it utterly hilarious, and knew he would miss the fun-loving class of students immensely in the next semester.

My siblings and I tricked our father with a dido on April Fool’s day. We wrapped his car and his whole desk in tin foil!

What is the origin of the word dido?

According to Etymonline and Your Dictionary, the word dido has come to mean a prank or shrewd trick from the trick of Dido Queen of Carthage in Greek and Roman mythology, when she bought as much land as a hide would cover and cut it into thin strips long enough to enclose a spot for a citadel. This word has been used in the English language to mean a prank or caper since the year 1792. Some people still regard this word as being of having an origin unknown.

What are synonyms for the word dido?

There are many different words and phrases that a person can use in place of the word dido. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word dido is provided by Thesaurus

  •  skylarking
  •  high jinks
  •  shine
  •  tomfoolery
  •  gag
  •  fancy
  •  roughhousing
  •  fooling
  •  lark
  •  lightness
  •  caper
  •  play
  •  shenanigans
  •  trick
  •  prank
  •  antic
  •  hotfoot
  •  roughhouse
  •  caprice
  •  horseplay
  •  levity
  •  rollick
  •  rib
  •  frivolity
  •  practical joke
  •  sport
  •  monkeyshines
  •  spoof
  •  whim
  •  rowdiness
  •  put-on
  •  gambol
  •  frolic
  •  escapade

Overall, the word dido (ˈdaɪdəʊ) comes from Greece and Rome in the legend of dido. The word dido is used in modern English to refer to a prank or trick. This is a reference to the trick of Dido, the queen of the Phoenician city-state of Tyre which today is  Ṣūr in Lebanon, and the first queen of the Phoenician city-state of Carthage. Young women everywhere are fascinated by Dido’s character in the popular culture piece, Virgil’s epic poem Aeneid, particularly when she kills herself following her husband’s death. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!


  1. DIDO Synonyms: 3 Synonyms & Antonyms for DIDO | Thesaurus 
  2. Dido | Definition of Dido | Merriam-Webster 
  3. Dido | Definition of Dido | 
  4. Dido | Classical mythology | Britannica. 
  5. dido | Origin and meaning of dido | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  6. Dido Meaning | Best 11 Definitions of Dido | Your Dictionary