adjective, dink·i·er, dink·i·est.

Informal. small, unimportant, unimpressive, or shabby: We stayed in a dinky old hotel.
British Informal. fashionable; well dressed; smart.

noun, plural dink·ies.

Origin of dinky

1780–90; compare Scots dink neatly dressed, trim (of obscure origin); sense shift perhaps: trim > dainty > small > insignificant; see -y1


or dink·y


noun, plural dink·eys.

a small locomotive, especially with a switch engine.

Origin of dinkey

1840–50; noun use of dinky; see -ey2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dinky

Contemporary Examples of dinky

  • You think that this tragedy has given you an opportunity to catapult you [sic] dinky blog and newspaper to new heights.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Missing Murder Suspect

    Rick Outzen

    July 31, 2009

Historical Examples of dinky

British Dictionary definitions for dinky


adjective dinkier or dinkiest informal

British small and neat; dainty
US inconsequential; insignificant

Word Origin for dinky

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