1796, "performed with dash, impetuous;" from 1801 as "given to cutting a dash," a colloquial expression attested from 1786 (see cut (v.)) for "acting brilliantly," from dash (n.) in the sense of "showy appearance" (1715). Earlier in the sense of "splashing" (1620s), which replaced dashende (mid-15c.) as a present-participle adjective. Related: Dashingly.
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