thingamabob

[ thing-uh-muh-bob ]
/ ˈθɪŋ ə məˌbɒb /

noun Informal.

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Also thing·u·ma·bob, thing·um·bob [thing-uhm-bob] /ˈθɪŋ əmˌbɒb/

Origin of thingamabob

First recorded in 1835–45; see origin at thingamajig, bob2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does thingamabob mean?

Thingamabob 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 thingamabob here. 

Thingamabob is sometimes used even if you know the name of the thing you’re referring to. It can be used to be dismissive or to downplay the importance or value of an object, such as when someone is admiring it, as in What, these old thingamabobs? I’ve got a whole boxful of ’em. Take as many as you want. 

Less commonly, it can be spelled as thingumabob or thingumbob. There are several other similarly informal words that are used in the same way, including thingamajig, thingy, whachamacallit, whatsit, doohickey, and doodad.

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

Where does thingamabob come from?

The first records of the word thingamabob spelled in that way come from the 1800s, but other spellings have been used since at least the 1700s. The first part of the words thingamajig and thingamabob comes from the word thingum, an informal variant of the word thing similar to thingy. The word bob is used in the sense of a kind of object that’s attached to the end of something.

Have you got a junk drawer full of thingamabobs? 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 thingamabob). 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 thingamabob?

  • thingumabob (alternate spelling)
  • thingumbob (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for thingamabob?

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

 

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

 

How is thingamabob used in real life?

Thingamabob 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 thingamabob!

Is thingamabob used correctly in the following sentence?

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

Example sentences from the Web for thingamabob

  • All I know is, I dont want to have the thingamabob—puck—when hes bearing down on me.

    On Your Mark!|Ralph Henry Barbour