- Informal. small, unimportant, unimpressive, or shabby: We stayed in a dinky old hotel.
- British Informal. fashionable; well dressed; smart.
Origin of dinky
1780–90; compare Scots dink neatly dressed, trim (of obscure origin); sense shift perhaps: trim > dainty > small > insignificant; see -y1
- a small locomotive, especially with a switch engine.
Origin of dinkey
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for dinky
You think that this tragedy has given you an opportunity to catapult you [sic] dinky blog and newspaper to new heights.The Missing Murder Suspect
July 31, 2009
And the speed229 he gets out of that dinky little roadster is amazin'.Torchy and Vee
The dinky engine, with its train of flat-cars, was steaming toward him.'Firebrand' Trevison
Charles Alden Seltzer
"That's my dinky little religion, dear old Miss Hamilton," said Bones.The Keepers of the King's Peace
I know you can kill that hawk up there; but not with that dinky little thing.The Trail Boys on the Plains
Jay Winthrop Allen
I know more about artillery than half their dinky West Pointers.The Wasted Generation
- British small and neat; dainty
- US inconsequential; insignificant
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
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