or do-dad

[ doo-dad ]
/ ˈduˌdæd /
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See synonyms for: doodad / doodads on Thesaurus.com

noun Informal.
a decorative embellishment; trinket; bauble: a dress covered with doodads.
a gadget; device: a kitchen full of the latest doodads.
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Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of doodad

First recorded in 1900–05; gradational compound based on dial. dad piece, flake
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does doodad mean?

Doodad is a very informal word for an object whose name you don’t know, have forgotten, or can’t recall at the moment.

It’s often used to refer to gadgets or parts of things that might not even have a commonly known name, as in Before we attach the bracket, we have to insert this doodad here. It’s often used with a modifier describing the kind of thing, as in Where’s that plastic doodad?

There are several other similarly informal words that are used in the same way, including the very similar doodah as well as doohickey, dingus, thingy, thingamajig, thingamabob, whachamacallit, and whatsit.

Doodad is also used to mean a trinket, bauble, or some kind of decorative item or part of something.

Example: My kids got me one of those doodads that track your steps. What’s it called? A stepometer?

Where does doodad come from?

The first records of the word doodad come from around 1915. The –dad part of doodad is thought to mean something like “piece.” This may also be how it’s used in the term crawdad.

Today, the word is especially used to refer to small, physical objects, but its ambiguous nature means it can be used for all kinds of things (which is really the point of a word like doodad). Sometimes, it’s used just to be a bit funny, even if you actually know the name of the object you’re referring to.

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What are some other forms related to doodad?

  • do-dad (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for doodad?

What are some words that share a root or word element with doodad

What are some words that often get used in discussing doodad?


How is doodad used in real life?

Doodad is very informal. It’s especially used in speech as a way for the speaker to refer to something whose name they don’t know or can’t remember at that moment.


Try using doodad!

Is doodad used correctly in the following sentence?

This darn doodad doesn’t even work anymore—can you pick up another one at the store?

How to use doodad in a sentence

  • Watts brings welcome humor to the metaphor, as he mimes picking his way nervously through the clutter with a flashlight, recognizing unloved doodads and forgotten heirlooms.

  • You fool Irishman, go back down and try the thing; give the 'little doodad' a chance!

    The Hammer of Thor|Charles Willard Diffin
  • Got a little doodad out of his pocket; aneroid barometer, or something, he said it was.

    The Brain|Alexander Blade