dingleberry

[ ding-guhl-ber-ee ]
/ ˈdɪŋ gəlˌbɛr i /

noun, plural din·gle·ber·ries.

Slang. a small clot of dung, as clinging to the hindquarters of an animal.

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Origin of dingleberry

1920–25; perhaps dingle + berry; perhaps by association with dangle

Words nearby dingleberry

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does dingleberry mean?

A dingleberry is a term for a small piece of poop clinging to the butt of a human or animal. It’s sometimes used as a way to call someone “foolish” or “stupid.”

And yes, there’s an actual fruit-bearing plant called a dingleberry. It’s a kind of cranberry

Where does dingleberry come from?

The sound of dingleberry is apparently just genuinely hilarious to people. As early as the 1830s, writers have humorously named characters and towns Dingleberry. One notable example comes from Tales of the Village Children (1845): “ … they turned up from the river, and soon got into the Dingleberry wood, and before long they came out upon Cacklequack Common.”

The use of dingleberry to refer to a rectum-clinging piece of feces has been attested since the 1920s. The origin of this meaning isn’t clear. It may be based on dangle or dingbat.

It’s no big leap from dingleberry as a small piece of turd stuck the butt to an insult for someone considered foolish or inept. It’s possible both meanings came into use on or around the same time.

Actual dingleberries (Vaccinium erythrocarpum) are native to the Southeastern United States.

How is dingleberry used in real life?

Dingleberry today is almost exclusively a potty-talk word or mild insult, although people may occasionally use it to refer to actual dingleberries.

Dingleberry, while vulgar, is mild enough that it was used in the title of a 2017 episode of the cartoon American Dad, “The Talented Mr. Dingleberry.” 

More examples of dingleberry:

“Don’t be a dingleberry. Use a password manager. 😅”
—@thisistechtoday, December 2019

“Just listened to my lovely wife explain what a dingleberry is to my 5 year old. #parenting”
—@chexmix78, July 2018

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.