Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ding-bat] /ˈdɪŋˌbæt/
Slang. an eccentric, silly, or empty-headed person.
Printing. an ornamental piece of type for borders, separators, decorations, etc.
an object, as a brick, serving as a missile.
Origin of dingbat
First recorded in 1830-40; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for dingbat
Historical Examples
  • Your tiles are loose, and the lady knows what is good for a dingbat like you.

    Nothing But the Truth Frederic S. Isham
British Dictionary definitions for dingbat


noun (US, slang)
any unnamed object, esp one used as a missile
a crazy or stupid person
Word Origin
C19: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dingbat

1838, American English, some kind of alcoholic drink, of unknown origin. One of that class of words (e.g. dingus, doohickey, gadget, gizmo, thingumabob) which are conjured up to supply names for items whose proper names are unknown or not recollected. Used at various periods for "money," "a professional tramp," "a muffin," "a typographical ornament," "male genitalia," "a Chinese," "an Italian," "a woman who is neither your sister nor your mother," and "a foolish person in authority." Popularized in sense of "foolish person" by TV show "All in the Family" (1971), though this usage dates from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for dingbat



  1. An unspecified or unspecifiable object; something one does not know the name of or does not wish to name; dingus, gadget: I don't think any wire and glass dingbat is going to ''oontz'' out cheek-to-cheek dancing (1905+)
  2. A stupid person, esp a vague and inane simpleton; dimwit: All in the Family was reexported to the BBC complete with ''Polack pinko meatheads,'' ''dingbats,'' and ''spades'' (1915+)
  3. Any of various typographic symbols used as decorations, separators, emphasizers, trademark and union-done indicators, etc (1930s+ Print shop)

[first sense fr German or Dutch dinges, ''thing''; second sense fr Australian have the dingbats, be dingbats, ''be crazy'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for dingbat

Word Value for dingbat

Scrabble Words With Friends