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dingbat

[ding-bat]
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noun
  1. Slang. an eccentric, silly, or empty-headed person.
  2. dingus.
  3. Printing. an ornamental piece of type for borders, separators, decorations, etc.
  4. an object, as a brick, serving as a missile.

Origin of dingbat

First recorded in 1830–40; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dingbats

Historical Examples

  • I thought of all these things as I listened to the prattling of the Dingbats.

    Fore!

    Charles Emmett Van Loan

  • One short week ago the Dingbats would have voted him a nuisance and a menace to society in general.

    Fore!

    Charles Emmett Van Loan

  • Now as to the Dingbats: if you do not know them you have missed something rich and rare in the golfing line.

    Fore!

    Charles Emmett Van Loan

  • The Dingbats formed a syndicate and covered all bets; but this was due to club pride rather than any feeling of confidence.

    Fore!

    Charles Emmett Van Loan

  • He is still a four man, and if he lives to be as old as the Dingbats he will never take home another trophy.

    Fore!

    Charles Emmett Van Loan


British Dictionary definitions for dingbats

dingbats

pl n
  1. the dingbats slang delirium tremens
  2. give someone the dingbats informal to make someone nervous
adjective
  1. informal crazy or stupid

dingbat

noun US slang
  1. any unnamed object, esp one used as a missile
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for dingbats

dingbat

n.

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