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[ding-kee] /ˈdɪŋ ki/
adjective, dinkier, dinkiest.
Informal. small, unimportant, unimpressive, or shabby:
We stayed in a dinky old hotel.
British Informal. fashionable; well dressed; smart.
noun, plural dinkies.
Origin of dinky
1780-90; compare Scots dink neatly dressed, trim (of obscure origin); sense shift perhaps: trim > dainty > small > insignificant; see -y1


or dinky

[ding-kee] /ˈdɪŋ ki/
noun, plural dinkeys.
a small locomotive, especially with a switch engine.
1840-50; noun use of dinky; see -ey2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dinky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You have lived here wrapped up in yourselves and your dinky little town so long that mental asphyxiation is threatening you all.

    The Chalice Of Courage Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • And the speed229 he gets out of that dinky little roadster is amazin'.

    Torchy and Vee Sewell Ford
  • What kind 63 of a dinky little silver-plated wedding present do you think I am, anyway?

  • I know more about artillery than half their dinky West Pointers.

    The Wasted Generation Owen Johnson
  • Ten shillings are $2.50 our money and cheap when it includes a dinky little chauffeur with a uniform.

    Frank Armstrong at College Matthew M. Colton
  • Why do you bother with a dinky office like the one you started out for?

  • And she let me ask dinky Odell over to have some and we had hot chocolate and a fust rate time.

    Deer Godchild Marguerite Bernard and Edith Serrell
  • dinky Bradford, sez I after thinkin a moment; but Im delegated to speak for him.

    Friar Tuck Robert Alexander Wason
  • I get off when I do hear the approaches of the dinky engine.

    The Story of Opal Opal Whiteley
British Dictionary definitions for dinky


adjective (informal) dinkier, dinkiest
(Brit) small and neat; dainty
(US) inconsequential; insignificant
Word Origin
C18 (in the sense: dainty): from dink
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
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Word Origin and History for dinky

1788 "neat, trim, dainty, small," from Scottish dialectal dink "finely dressed, trim" (c.1500), of unknown origin. Modern sense is 1850s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dinky



  1. Small; undersized The earliest sense meant ''small, neat, trim,'' and is related to later college use dink, ''a dude'': a dinky foreign car/ dinky little town
  2. Inadequate; substandard: What a dinky joint! (1788+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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